Better Call Behnken: Local consumers frustrated with Equifax following security breach

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) -- It's the perfect storm.

Equifax, one of the nation's three large credit reporting bureaus, keeps a wealth of personal information on millions of Americans. Now, there has been a credit breach and the information of about 143 million Americans has been stolen.

Hackers now have social security numbers, birth dates, addresses, driver's license numbers and even credit card numbers.

Robert Coggin, of Brandon, was furious to find that he's among those potential victims.

"They have a huge responsibility, and they clearly failed in this regard," Coggin said.

In addition to the fear of having personal information in the hands of crooks, consumers are also now dealing with a nightmare of just trying to follow the company's advice online.

They complain to 8 On Your Side that they can't get a real person on the phone and online forms give them error messages that won't let them complete the process of applying for free credit monitoring.

"It is clearly their fault that they allowed this to happen and then they offer these mediocre solutions that don't go anywhere," Coggin said.

You can find out if your information was compromised by clicking the "potential impact tab" on the Equifax website.

The FTC recommends you enroll in free credit monitoring with Equifax. Also, run a free credit check with Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. You should also consider placing a credit freeze on your files. That makes it harder for a crook to open a new account in your name.

You'll need to monitor your accounts regularly to look for activity that's not yours. A credit freeze will not protect accounts that have already been compromised.

Equifax sent this statement to 8 On Your Side:

We understand that some consumers are experiencing difficulties getting the answers and support they need through our website and call center. We are listening to concerns raised by consumers and in the media, and continue to work diligently to ensure an improved consumer experience."

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