NH AG calls for halt to consumer fees from credit bureaus following Equifax breach

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CONCORD, NH – Attorney General Gordon J. MacDonald has joined with other attorneys general around the country to urge consumer reporting agencies Experian and TransUnion to halt charging fees to consumers who want to put in place credit freezes on their accounts in light of the massive data breach at the consumer reporting agency Equifax.

In a letter addressed to the major consumer reporting agencies (CRAs), New Hampshire and 36 other states are urging them to stop charging fees for credit freezes and fees to lift or temporarily lift credit freezes on consumers’ accounts.

The Equifax data breach reported last month has so far affected over 145 million Americans. The company estimates that approximately 635,000 New Hampshire residents were affected. In addition to placing a credit freeze on all of your credit reports, the Attorney General offered the following tips consumers can take to safeguard against identity theft:

• Regularly request your free credit reports, inspect them closely, and promptly dispute any unauthorized accounts;

• Inspect all financial account statements closely and promptly dispute any unauthorized charges;

• Consider placing alerts on your financial accounts so your financial institution alerts you when money above a pre-designated amount is withdrawn;

• Beware of potential phishing emails; don’t open any email messages or attachments from unknown senders and do not click on any unknown links. Fraudsters will frequently send coercive and misleading emails threatening account suspension or worse if sensitive information is not provided. Remember, businesses will never ask customers to verify account information via email. If in doubt, contact the business in question directly for verification and to report phishing emails; and

• Be on the lookout for spoofed email addresses. Spoofed email addresses are those that make minor changes in the domain name, frequently changing the letter O to the number zero, or the lowercase letter l to the number one. Scrutinize all incoming email addresses to ensure that the sender is truly legitimate.

To receive more information about this or other consumer issues, or to file a consumer complaint, the number for the Attorney General’s Consumer Information Line is 1-888-468- 4454. Complaint forms can be found at DOJ’s website: https://www.doj.nh.gov/consumer/complaints/index.htm.