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Equifax Data Breach impacts El Pasoans, how to protect yourself

Some 143 million Americans have been hacked, with Social Security numbers and other personal information stolen.

About 44 percent of the U.S. population is a victim of the recent Equifax data breach. Some 143 million Americans have been hacked, with Social Security numbers and other personal information stolen.

"I haven't really used Equifax in the past. I'm hoping that my information is not there,” said West El Paso resident Cuyler Anderson.

You don't need to be an Equifax customer to be a victim.

"I just got my first apartment. So, maybe,” said West El Pasoan Juan Paz.

Lizzie Dipp Metzger, a certified financial planner and financial advisor with Crown Wealth Strategies is a victim of the Equifax data breach herself.

"I'm not excited about it! What's important though is if people aren't aware, they only have a limited amount of time in which they can go to Equifax and join their theft protection and identity protection,” Dipp Metzger said.

She said if you don't sign up by the November cutoff, you'll be paying for protection Equifax is currently giving away for free. Then, you should freeze your credit, or put a fraud alert.

"I'm going to have a fraud alert that says, 'do not give me or someone who is claiming to be me, credit without doing these steps first. It’s maybe checking via mail or a phone call to myself,” Dipp Metzger said.

One Westsider said it doesn't matter how careful you are.

"If hackers want to get your information. Not just them, but there's all these companies where so much shopping is done through the internet that they can find a way to get your information no matter who it is,” West El Paso resident Armando Delgadillo said.

Anderson thinks this problem will grow as technology advances.

"Technology is outpacing the ability to keep our personal security safe,” Anderson explained. “We're too free as it is with things on Facebook, let alone our financial things. You can apply for a house online now. I mean, come on!"

You can go to the Equifax website to find out if you were a victim.

Dipp Metzger suggests to go check your credit score right now online. She said the only truly free online credit report website she trusts is annualcreditreport.com.

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