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Equifax to offer free lifetime credit lock service

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Mike Timmermann, Clark.com

Equifax’s interim CEO apologized in a Wall Street Journal op-ed piece for the massive data breach that may have exposed the personal information of 143 million Americans.

Paulino do Rego Barros Jr. said the Atlanta-based credit bureau will offer a free credit lock service by early next year.

“By Jan. 31, Equifax will offer a new service allowing all consumers the option of controlling access to their personal credit data. The service we are developing will let consumers easily lock and unlock access to their Equifax credit files. You will be able to do this at will. It will be reliable, safe and simple. Most significantly, the service will be offered free, for life.”

RELATED: What we know and how to protect yourself from what’s coming next

Do not wait for Equifax’s new credit lock service! Take these two steps now

Barros began the piece by saying he was sorry to consumers for the hack and the company’s inadequate response. He noted problems with Equifax’s website and call center operations.

In addition to the upcoming credit lock service, Equifax announced these changes:

  • Extending the sign-up period for free credit freezes with Equifax through January
  • Extending the sign-up period for TrustedID Premier credit monitoring through January

“We will act quickly and forcefully to correct our mistakes, while simultaneously developing a new approach to protecting consumer data,” Barros wrote in the Wall Street Journal.

Barros took over as Equifax’s interim CEO after Richard Smith abruptly retired on Tuesday.

Take these 2 steps to protect yourself

Clark says you shouldn’t wait for Equifax’s new service, which may not be ready until January 31, to protect your identity. Take these two steps right now:

1. Sign up for Credit Karma’s free credit monitoring

Go to CreditKarma.com to sign up for a free account and you’ll get access to free credit monitoring. If they notice any suspicious activity, you’ll get an alert. Plus, Credit Karma also gives you free access to your credit scores and reports, as well as tips on what factors are impacting your credit.

2. Freeze your credit with all three main credit bureaus

By freezing your credit files, you can prevent criminals from using your information to wreak havoc on your financial life. Even if your info was not exposed by the Equifax hack, this is the best way to protect your identity and your money.

Clark froze his credit for the first time more than a decade ago and has only had to temporarily lift the freeze a handful of times. Get started with his step-by-step Credit Freeze Guide.

RELATED: 5 things to expect when you freeze your credit

 

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