Experts recommend credit freeze in wake of massive Equifax breach

Experts recommend credit freeze in wake of massive Equifax breach

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Many NBC12 viewers are calling our newsroom or emailing to let us know that they can't get through on the phone lines, or the websites keep crashing, at the three major credit bureaus.

This is the message at the top of the TransUnion's website: "Due to the Equifax data breach, we are experiencing high volumes and there may be delays."

At least 243 million Americans were hit by this data breach, with hackers getting names, Social Security Numbers, birth dates and more. Experts say the safest bet is to assume your data was stolen - this breach was severe.

"They actually got your name, address, Social Security Number, possibly even your driver's license number. They have the ability to perhaps even take over your current accounts, so it's going to be vital that you're actually reading your current statements on the accounts you already have," says Britt Scearce with the Emery Federal Credit Union.

Experts are recommending you freeze your credit now. You have to call all three of the credit bureaus. You will likely have to pay a $10 fee at Transunion and Experian to freeze your credit and then to unfreeze it in the future.

Freezing your credit is a safeguard against someone applying for credit in your name.

Below are the websites and phone numbers for each of the three bureaus. You'll need to be diligent and patient, because phone lines and websites are being overloaded with Americans trying to get through.


Phone numbers:
TransUnion: 1-888-909-8872
Experian: 1-888-397-3742
Equifax: 1-800-349-9960

Go here for a simple check of your credit report:

Copyright 2017 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved