After Equifax settlement, tips to protect consumers

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Equifax, one of the three major credit reporting agencies, reached a $700 million settlement with the Federal Trade Commission after they exposed the information of around 147 million people.
But, how can you protect yourself going forward?

News 10 spoke with experts about how you can protect your personal information going forward.
Kathleen Kraninger, Director with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, said, 
“Names, social security numbers, birthdates and addresses and for some drivers license numbers and credit card numbers.”

Maneesha Mithal, with the Federal Trade Commission, explained, “As long as they have reasonable documentation in the form of receipts that they paid for credit monitoring or security freezes they should be able to get reimbursed for that amount.”

Experts say protecting your data and personal information starts with responsibility.
“The more hurdles a crook has to past, has to jump to get to your personal information, the least interested they’re going to be in your personal information,” said Sharane Gott with the Better Business Bureau of Acadiana.

Experts say to help protect your personal information, you should make sure all your apps are current. You should also have a good antivirus on your devices.
“The very most important thing is to update your applications, either on your cell phone or on your personal computer at home, your laptop, whatever it might be,” added Gott.
Karen Willingham, Manager of Doghouse Computers, said, “You want to make sure you have a good antivirus on your system. There’s some antivirus’s that’ll do a linkup through their system that gives you even more protection. Some of them have internet protection separately from an antivirus.”

Your passwords should also be strong.
“Use a strong password. Write it down someplace and be as smarter or as smartest as can you than the crooks,” said Gott. “That’s all it takes.”

The biggest key to protecting your personal data is education. Being aware of what con-artists are capable of.

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