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Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman is urging consumers to be aware of the steps they can take to protect their financial information and prevent identity theft in response to the report of a large-scale data breach at Equifax, one of the three major credit reporting companies. "Taking on a leading role and working with other states, I have already begun to conduct a thorough review of this breach to assure that Equifax takes steps to minimize the exposure of Arkansans' personal information". The website also has other information about the breach, including contact information for Equifax if you have additional questions.

"Millions of Californians' personal information has been compromised as a result of this massive data breach". "I want to know exactly how that happened, but more immediately, I am concerned about the confusion that you have caused for consumers". Don't give out personal information to those who contact you asking for information to verify accounts, and be wary of clicking on links or downloading attachments in email messages. CBS News Financial Analyst Jill Schlesinger said the best line of defense is putting your credit on ice - which you can do on the Equifax website. In addition, credit card numbers for approximately 209,000 USA consumers, and certain credit dispute documents with personal identifying information for approximately 182,000 US consumers, were accessed. The FTC recommends monitoring bank accounts and obtaining credit reports for unusual activity. Click on the "Potential Impact" tab and enter your last name and the last six digits of your Social Security number.

At least 143 million Americans were victimized by the data breach and that includes 5 million North Carolina residents who are affected.

A lot of people are choosing to "freeze" their credit report.

"I deeply regret this incident and I apologize to every affected consumer and all of our partners", says Equifax Chairman and CEO, Rick Smith. She said she could only help me enroll in a credit monitoring service. It's one of three major credit bureaus used by banks, lenders, and businesses to approve loans and credit cards.

Investigators say you need to watch out for phishing emails that look like they're from Equifax, but really aren't.