The bot has since been re-programmed to automatically file claims against the Equifax, which last week admitted that it had suffered a breach that exposed the social security numbers and other personal details of about 143 million Americans, or 44 per cent of the country's population. Equifax should be required to provide the credit monitoring service in perpetuity.
"We encourage you to let us know if this breach has resulted in attempts by a hacker to use your compromised information to gain access to your financial information or accounts, including, not but limited to your bank account, credit cards, and retirement or investment accounts", Kilmartin said.
The reporting bureau has launched an additional website to handle the incoming inquiries from consumers who are anxious they may have been affected through equifaxsecurity2017.com. It will not prevent a thief from using any of your existing accounts, but a credit freeze makes it harder for someone to open a new account in your name.
In the chaos of a data breach, every company possesses an important aspect of the remediation process that it can control - how it chooses to communicate with the public and those affected by the breach. (See instructions for freezing credit files below.) Between mid-May and the end of July, cyber thieves stole information including names, Social Security numbers, birthdates and driver's license numbers. An unspecified number of people in Canada and the United Kingdom might also have been affected, the company said.
Morfeld on Tuesday sent a letter to Equifax CEO Richard Smith calling for the company to comply with a Nebraska law requiring businesses to notify residents of security breaches that expose personal information.
"Let's say you're a Canadian applying for a mortgage in the USA for your cottage..." Phishing emails may attempt to fool you into providing your credit card information, or ask you to click on a link or open an attachment, which can download malware onto your computer.
The reporting agencies tell you that this may delay a legitimate credit request.
There can be situations where inconsistencies or errors may be reported that could negatively affect your credit rating, and those need to be corrected.
The Equifax breach appears to be far worse than previous breaches, with potential consequences of a totally different order of magnitude than the prior mass corporate hacks.
Equifax sells marketing lists that offer "access to current personally identifiable information for over 210 million consumers".
The credit freeze, however, will not protect you from potentially even more nefarious end users of this treasure trove of information on almost half of all Americans. The company could then charge for the service.
A spokeswoman for the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, which is the central agency in Canada, that collects identification theft complaints and other related matters, has not received any complaints in connection with the Equifax hack.