Nearly half of Hawaii could be affected by data breach - Honolulu, Hawaii news, sports & weather - KITV Channel 4

Nearly half of Hawaii could be affected by data breach

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(AP Photo/Mike Stewart) (AP Photo/Mike Stewart)

   The state is currently investigating the massive Equifax data breach, that could impact many island residents for months, or even years to come.

  Identity theft is a very real possibility from this data breach, but some Hawaii residents haven't even taken the first step in stopping it: finding out if their personal and private information got out.

  Nearly a week after the massive data breach at Equifax, many Hawaii residents are still worried. 

"It is definitely concerning. Hundreds of millions of people's information is up for grabs. You don't know the implications of that, and what it is going to be," said Makiki resident Emma Jacobs.

    While Equifax has not stated just how many of the 143 million Americans affected live in Hawaii, based on national percentages, it could be nearly half of the state.

   But some residents still have not checked to see if their data has been compromised, in part because of confusion after the announcement by Equifax.

"Initially, when people would go to the website they might have been alerted their identity was not involved. Equifax has now found some of the people in that case were actually involved," said Hawaii's Better Business Bureau Director of Marketing Jason Kama.

Why is important to find out for sure at: "www.equifaxsecurity2017.com"?
Because the information exposed wasn't credit card numbers, instead it was all the information thieves need to get lines of credit under victim's names.

"This breach involves people's social security numbers, addresses , names all things people would use to apply for a credit card or perpetuate credit fraud," said Kama.

Experts recommend those affected put a freeze on their credit. It adds an additional hurdle to opening new credit or loans, but also makes it more difficult for thieves with your personal information to do the same.

"When you use a credit freeze, it doesn't affect your credit rating and it doesn't affect the ability to use open accounts you already have," added Kama.

Credit freezes don't offer complete protection and cost around $5 for each one. Three are needed as there are three credit bureaus.
But after the massive data breach, some are now leery about putting even more of their personal information online. 

"You expect the people you give your information to, to keep it safe. If they are not doing that, you have to wonder should I be putting my information out there. Anytime this happens, it is concerning for sure," said Kalihi resident Mike Wood.

    In the wake of this data breach, it is also important to be aware of scammers pretending to be from your bank, credit card company or store. They may call to tell you your card has been compromised and require you give out personal info, or credit card numbers. 

     It is also a good idea to check your credit every year. You can go to www.annualcreditreport.com for a free annual report.

    The Better Business Bureau has more advice on what to do after a data breach, including more details of a credit freeze and other options available, simply go to: "www.bbb.org/breach"

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