HELENA – U.S. Senator Jon Tester and Montana Attorney General Tim Fox are teaming up to offer consumer protection tips for the 367,000 Montanans who were affected by the recent Equifax breach.
Senator Tester, who is also a senior member of the Senate Banking Committee, joined with Montana Consumer Protection Chief Mark Mattioli Thursday to discuss the breach.
At the conference Tester and Mattioli provided instructions on how residents can protect themselves in the wake of the breach. Tips included monitoring your credit reports and bank accounts and checking the Equifax website to see if your info may have been compromised.
According to Mattian and estimated 60 to 70 percent of Montanans have been impacted and need to take the appropriate steps.
Mattioli and Senator Tester also warned that if Equifax said that your data “may” have been compromised that really means that it was.
If you are a victim, you should report any fraudulent activity, request an extended fraud alert and implement a credit/security freeze.
Tester gave his assurance to Montanans that Equifax will not be let off the hook for this breach of public trust.
“We will hold Equifax accountable for this data breach and we’re going to find out just what and when they knew – and if needed we’ll recommend for heads to roll,” said Tester.
A class action lawsuit was also recently filed for Montanans affected by the breach.
Tester asked why Equifax executives dumped more than $1.5 million in stock prior to the breach announcement and said he has asked the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission to investigate.
Attorney General Fox said, “Equifax could have prevented the personal information of 143 million Americans, including more than 367,000 Montanans, from being breached by installing a security patch to its web application. That they did not is inexcusable.”
“Montana consumers impacted by this massive data breach deserve answers and assistance moving forward,” added Fox.
Fox has joined a multi-state investigation with other attorneys general to learn more about the breach and how Equifax intends to protect consumers who are impacted.
To download a fact sheet about what to do if you think you’ve been impacted by the breach, click here.
The Office of Consumer Protection also recommends clicking here to get a free credit report.
Senator Tester said at the conference that if Montanans have questions the first place they should go for information is the Montana Department of Justice website.