WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - The 143 million Americans whose information was compromised by the Equifax data breach may still be on edge even with the free credit monitoring service being offered by the company.
Everything from names, addresses, social security numbers and credit card numbers were hacked in the Equifax data breach.
"Pretty much everything someone unscrupulous can use to open up credit, do a payday loan or open up a credit card," said Michelle Kuehner, a Certified Credit Counselor with Personal Money Planning in Wichita Falls.
She said Equifax houses all of your credit history, so for those who have ever used credit, Equifax has your information.
Kuehner said right now the company is sending out letters letting people know if they have been potentially affected. They can also check online at equifaxsecurity2017.com.
However, it is not only the breach that has consumers concerned, it is the company's response.
"We're taking unprecedent step of offering every U.S consumer in the country a comprehensive package of identity theft protection, ecredit file monitoring at no cost," said Rick Smith, Equifax Chairman, and CEO, in a statement released online.
That service is good for a year, but an arbitration clause in the fine print is now in the spot light.
"If you do sign up for that service and join that path then you're giving up your right for that class action suit," said Kuehner. "Whether you should do the monitoring or try to monitor it on your own for a bit, it's really up to you."
Kuehner does recommend talking to a financial advisor about your options. She adds there is a number of free ways to get your credit report and stresses the importance of keeping an eye on this information constantly, not just when a breach like this takes place.
She said some other ways to protect personal information is keeping tabs on existing accounts, changing passwords to all financial accounts and adding fraud alerts to credit cards.