• What it's like to be the victim of identity theft


    BOSTON - Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey filed a lawsuit against credit reporting agency Equifax Tuesday saying the company was aware of security vulnerabilities and failed to prevent a massive data breach.

    The Equifax breach has a lot of people concerned about identity theft, and Boston 25 News reporter Ted Daniel spoke with one woman who recently learned that her information had been stolen.

    Brenda Henry is a single mother if three from Mattapan. She says somebody got a hold of her social security number and went to town, opening bank accounts and cashing 14 fraudulent checks.

    “I feel like it's just the beginning, of I don't know, hell,” she said.

    Henry is now looking for a new apartment, but she’s concerned the identity theft will hurt her credit and prevent landlords from approving her applications.

    >>RELATED: 10 things you need to know about the Equifax data breach

    When mail from digital federal credit union first arrived at her home, she didn’t pay much attention because DCU is not her bank. But several weeks later she couldn’t ignore what she thought was junk mail any longer.

    “When I actually called the bank and they told me someone walked in and started this account.  I was like ‘did they look like me? Is it a person who knows me?’ I feel so violated,” she said.

    An estimated 15 million people in the U.S. are impacted by identity theft every year, and the Equifax breach exposes 143 million potential new victims.

    “It is inevitable that people's identities are going to be stolen as a result of the Equifax breach,” Robert Siciliano, a personal security expert with Hotspot Shield, said.

    >>RELATEDWhy millennials should be worried about Equifax breach

    Siciliano said the only way to ensure no one accesses your credit but you is to order a credit freeze. It takes time and a little bit of money, but he believes the peace of mind is worth it.

    “A credit freeze locks down your credit report so nobody can open up any new lines of credit without your authorization,” he said.

    Henry said she has no idea how her information was compromised, but a spokesperson for DCU said they take fraud very seriously and want to help her in any way they can. 

    Next Up: