In the wake of the security breach at Equifax, when cyberthieves made off with 143 million Social Security numbers, birth dates and personal data from the credit-reporting agency’s files, personal finance columnist Ron Lieber made sense of what happened in a series of informative and timely pieces for The New York Times. Lieber expressed outrage at Equifax’s delayed and lackluster reaction to the breach; when the company offered one free year of credit monitoring to all Americans, he pointed out that the protection was incomplete and urged Equifax to do more. His (and others’) pleas were heard: the company relented and waived all fees for people who wanted to freeze their Equifax credit files. Then, as readers flooded him with questions via email and Twitter, Lieber used his column to assuage consumers’ sense of helplessness and to offer advice about what actions they should take, including checking their reports on annualcreditreport.com and signing up for permanent freezes on their credit files. Weeks after news of the breach broke, Lieber responded to readers’ requests with additional information designed to put all knowledge about the crisis in one place, with questions and answers on a range of topics, from pushing back against Equifax to protecting the informational data of your children to what to do with PINs.
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