Equifax data breach: What you should do next

Approximately 143 million Americans’ personal information has been compromised by hackers. “On July 29 of this year, we discovered attackers had gained unauthorized access to certain Equifax data files,” said Rick Smith, Equifax CEO.

Equifax says they didn't notify people of this breach immediately because the investigation was time consuming and they needed as much information as possible before telling consumers.

“This is clearly a disappointing event and one that strikes at the heart of who we are and what we do. I deeply regret this incident,” said Smith.

Yes, it's another data breach, but this one is more serious.

“It's different from a retailer like Target getting hacked, because Target doesn't have your social security number, and your birthdate,” said Matt Schulz, senior analyst at Creditcards.com

Although it's serious, Schulz says there's no need to panic, but be mindful.

You don’t have to sign up for a monitoring service.

You can first, check if you've been affected by going on Equifax's website they've made for this incident. “You should get your free credit reports, you should get your online statements, you should check your online credit card statement,” said Schulz.

After checking if you've been affected, there is an option to sign up for a free monitoring service.

There's a clause stating that you give up rights to participate in a class action lawsuit. 

Equifax received backlash from many, including New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

Equifax later clarified, saying the clause doesn't apply to the cyber security incident. “It should be a wake-up call to people to be diligent about keeping an eye out for things that look strange,” said Schulz.

With technology, comes the occasional data breaches, consumers just need to be prepared. “No security systems are full proof, and these things are going to continue to happen. It's up to you to protect yourself.”

To see if you’ve been impacted, click here.