Washingtonians: Here's how much it costs to freeze your credit

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Equifax announced September 7 that criminal hackers accessed personal information, including names, Society Security numbers, birthdates, addresses, and in some cases credit card and driver's license numbers of 143 million USA consumers, including more than 15 million Californians. The data includes Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some cases, driver's license numbers and credit card numbers.

With about 3 million Marylanders among the 143 million Americans whose personal financial data was breached in a hack of the credit rating company Equifax, the Maryland attorney general called on the company to fix its communication with consumers and to stop trying to profit from the breach.

The company provided a new website for consumers to check if their personally identifiable information (PII) was exposed in the breach, but the website was rife with problems.

"Monitor your credit report; with Equifax, because this breach was their fault, offered consumers across the country one year of free credit monitoring for people, so if they open up those new accounts, they can see that what's happened on existing accounts", Eiden said.

Ohio's Democratic U.S. Senator is introducing legislation to better protect against identity theft after data company Equifax announced a breach exposing almost half the people in the country.

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The breach, which unmasked the names and social security numbers of customers, has reportedly affected more than 140 million Americans. Keep in mind that a credit freeze won't prevent a thief from making charges to your existing accounts. Since the information in your credit file will not be released to anyone, it makes it almost impossible for an identity thief to open a new credit account in your name. If you come across any accounts or collection items that you do not recognize, contact the credit reporting agencies to dispute the matter and get it resolved.

Equifax, one of the three largest credit bureaus, stoked customer anger during the past six days in one bungled p.r. move after another. Just click enroll on the page that tells you you may be a victim. Filing your taxes early, (as soon as you have all the information you need), is one of the best ways to protect yourself from tax identity theft.

He says, "Everyone is entitled to a free credit report from each of the three credit reporting agencies and you're also entitled to a free security freeze". This is especially important if you've confirmed you're a victim of identity theft.

She says in addition to putting a fraud alert or a freeze on your credit bureau account, you need to start checking your other financial accounts on a regular basis, which means your credit cards, checking and savings accounts.

Equifax Canada's website says that "only a limited number of Canadians may have been affected" and "the breach is contained".