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Equifax breach: You can sue if your data was exposed; here's how

Two class-action lawsuits have been filed on behalf of customers affected by a massive breach at Equifax.

>> Watch the news report here

Officials with the Atlanta-based credit reporting and technology company said a “cyber security incident” may have exposed the personal information of 143 million U.S. consumers.

The data that might have been accessed includes names, Social Security numbers, birth dates and addresses.

>> Equifax reports massive data breach that could affect 143 million in U.S.

Former Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes has partnered with a Florida firm for a class-action lawsuit. 

"This is not a windfall thing. These are real damages and real fears that folks have," he said. "There's no telling, but I guarantee you most of this information was auctioned off in just a matter of hours."

>> Equifax data breach: What to know

Barnes said that if you've been compromised, you are automatically a part of the class-action suit unless you opt out.

"You don't have to do anything. We have class representatives and there will come a time when we'll contact folks," he said. 

>> Equifax cyberattack: How to get a free credit report, protect your identity

He said he is going after what it takes to make things right. 

"What the money should be is what is necessary to hire someone to straighten out your credit so that you don't disrupt your life forever," he said. "And some money for the fact that (Equifax) negligently, and in violation of several federal statutes, allowed for this information to get out."

>> Read more trending news

Barnes said among many demands is that Equifax have its security audited, tested and trained and that the company purges information it doesn't need. 

WSB-TV's Nicole Carr visited the Clark Howard Consumer Action Center, where volunteers have received nearly three times their normal call volume with concerns about Equifax.

Volunteers said more than 500 calls came in Wednesday and 99 percent of them were about Equifax.

"I've been here for 20 years. This is the busiest day we've had," said Consumer Action Center volunteer Lori Silverman. 

She said volunteers are working to ease fears about the data breach. 

"Because 140 million people are trying to freeze their credit, the sites are crashing and they're unable to thaw their credit. That's a difficult situation to be in," she said. "We're recommending (everyone) hang tight. Hopefully, all of the hysteria will slowly go away and within the next couple of weeks you'll be able to freeze your credit."

The Consumer Action Center recommends you freeze your credit through Credit Karma. Equifax has rescinded fine print that kept consumers from suing them if they signed up for their free credit file monitoring and identity theft protection. 

"Now they say they're backing off of that, but I would advise everybody: Do not interact with Equifax right now," Barnes said. 

Click here for Barnes' advice on what you should do.

Aftermath of Hurricane Harvey brings job opportunities at FEMA to Texans

The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency is hiring Texan workers to help with the recovery process after Hurricane Harvey.

>> Read more trending news

The new hires will assist teams of local, state and federal workers, along with volunteers from charities and community groups already on the ground, TIME reported.

The agency will work alongside the Texas Workforce Commission to place qualified workers where they can offer the most aid. Each position pays between $14 and $34 per hour.

The positions available through the FEMA program include:

  • Administrative support assistant
  • Civil engineer
  • Communications specialist
  • Construction cost estimator
  • Courier
  • Crisis counselor
  • Customer service specialist
  • Environmental specialist
  • Floodplain management specialist
  • Graphics specialist
  • Hazard mitigation outreach specialist
  • Historic preservation specialist
  • Registered nurse
  • Sign language interpreter
  • Voluntary agency liaison

RELATED: FEMA to states: plan for climate change or lose federal aid

In a press statement announcing the program, FEMA officials said that the agency “gains valuable community insights, provides jobs and puts Texans to work helping Texans.”

One position that demonstrates that mission is the customer service specialist, who will “serve as the primary point of contact for persons inquiring about disaster assistance,” according to the FEMA website.

The duties for this position will also include “assisting disaster victims, processing claim requests for disaster assistance, and providing information regarding available programs to individuals applying for disaster assistance.”

The agency is also opening up positions in its “reservist” program. The “temporary, on-call and intermittent” positions include duties ranging from hazard mitigation and remediation to historic preservation to financial management.

Interested applicants can submit their resumes and applications through the Texas Workforce Commission website or through the FEMA website.

The agency will be announcing new job postings as they become available.

Woman shocked to find sign with racist slur at gas station

A woman in Albuquerque was taken aback by the sign she said was in the window of a Shell gas station Saturday.

The sign read, "Leave yesterday ... please (N-word)," with the derogatory term written out.

>> Read more trending news

Maria Meeks told KRQE she went into the gas station to ask employees about the sign. Meeks claims the employee she spoke to laughed and said they posted the sign to discourage a vagrant from hanging out in front of the business.

Meeks contacted Shell's corporate office, KRQE reported. A company spokesperson told KRQE it is investigating the matter and is filing a formal complaint. Shell said the gas stations are independently owned.

Apple unveils iPhone X, iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus

Original report: Apple is expected to unveil a redesigned iPhone on Tuesday at a product event scheduled at 10 a.m. PDT at its new headquarters in Cupertino, California, according to multiple reports.

>> Read more trending news

The unveiling will take place at the newly opened Steve Jobs Theater.

The anticipated phone would be unveiled a decade after Apple’s late co-founder Steve Jobs first introduced the world to the iPhone, according to The Associated Press

“(It) could also cost twice what the original iPhone did,” the AP reported, adding that the phone was expected to cost $1,000. “It would set a new price threshold for any smartphone intended to appeal to a mass market.”

Citing an information leak,  Bloomberg reported that the phone will be called the iPhone X. It will be one of three phones, including the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, unveiled Tuesday, according to Bloomberg.

>> Watch the product event from Steve Jobs Theater

The information leak was first reported by the Apple news site 9to5Mac. The site reported that the iPhone 8 and the iPhone 8 Plus are expected to have subtle improvements over the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, but that the iPhone X is "the major new phone."

The iPhone X is expected to have numerous upgrades, including a larger, crisper OLED screen, improved cameras and a facial recognition system meant to replace Apple’s Touch ID, 9to5Mac reported.

Dairy Queen owner defends 'politically incorrect’ restaurant sign

A Wisconsin Dairy Queen owner is defending a sign he placed at his restaurant that is generating controversy.

The sign at the Dairy Queen in Kewaskum says, "This restaurant is politically incorrect." It warns patrons that staff may say "Merry Christmas," ''Happy Easter" and "God Bless America." The sign also lets customers know that the restaurant honors the flag and offers free sundaes to veterans on Veterans Day. "In God We Trust" is written in large letters at the bottom of the sign.

>> Read more trending news

Owner Kevin Scheunemann tells WDJT that he felt the sign was "appropriate to hang in terms of being transparent about the views of the owner and staff supporting God and country."

A customer who was offended took a photo of the sign and posted it on Facebook, where it has generated a heated discussion.

The chain told WDJT that the sign "expresses the views of this independent owner only" and doesn't speak for the company or other franchise owners.

Equifax cyberattack: How to get a free credit report, protect your identity

Credit reporting juggernaut Equifax announced Thursday that its information was compromised in a major cyberattack affecting 143 million Americans – or two-thirds of people with credit reports.

>> Read more trending news

Hackers were able to get birth dates, Social Security numbers, credit card numbers and addresses, according to Equifax, leaving some to wonder how they can protect themselves.

Here are some tips for ensuring your information is secure:

Find out whether you were affected by the hack through Equifax’s website. The site asks for a person’s last name and the last six digits of their Social Security number in order to determine whether the person was caught in the breach.

Don’t bother with Equifax’s monitoring serviceClark.com reported, noting that the company offering the service is the same one that was hacked.

“The only way to truly protect yourself is with a credit freeze,” Clark.com reported, recommending that people freeze their credit files with all three of America’s major credit reporting companies: Equifax, Experian and Transunion. Doing so does not affect whether or not a person can use already existing lines of credit.

>> Read more information on freezing your credit on Clark.com

Review your credit report and put a fraud alert on it if you are affected, Popular Mechanics suggested. A fraud alert will make it necessary for banks and credit companies to jump through extra hoops to confirm your identity. The magazine noted that a fraud alert filed with any one of America’s three credit bureaus -- Equifax, Experian and Transunion -- will be shared between the three.

>> Read more information on fraud alerts from the Federal Trade Commission

Whether or not you decide to put a fraud alert on your credit file, you can still obtain a free credit report once every 12 months from each of the credit bureaus. The reports can be obtained through annualcreditreport.com or by completing and mailing an annual credit report request form, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

>> Read more information on obtaining free credit reports from the Federal Trade Commission

You may order your reports from each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies at the same time, or you can order your report from each of the companies one at a time. The law allows you to order one free copy of your report from each of the nationwide credit reporting companies every 12 months.

Gap, Banana Republic closing 200 stores

Gap Inc., which owns Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Athleta and two other brands, will close hundreds of stores to make way for new ones. 

>> Read more trending news 

According to The Associated Press, the clothing retailer plans to close 200 Gap and Banana Republic stores in the next three years. The company plans to open 270 new Old Navy and Athleta stores during that time. 

The move supports efforts to leverage Old Navy and Athleta, which have reported rising sales, while Gap and Banana Republic have reported drops in sales.

Gap Inc., like many other retailers, has seen the impact of consumers’ preference to shop online, making it difficult for some brick-and-mortar stores to report significant earnings.

According to the AP, Old Navy is on track to surpass $10 billion in sales in the next few years, and Athleta is expected to exceed $1 billion in sales.

Read more at The Associated Press.

Chili's slashing menu to focus on customer favorites

Chili's announced Friday that it was trimming its menu by 40 percent to focus on traditional favorites.

The chain restaurant said in a statement that it was "going back to its roots" by shrinking its menu and focusing on its popular core dishes: burgers, ribs and fajitas.

>> Read more trending news

The "less is more" menu will debut Sept. 18, and will feature 75 items, down from the 125 items on the menu as of January.

For those customers who may miss a favorite menu item, Chili's said in its statement, "We apologize to any guest who misses a departed dish, but with this bold move we commit to all guests to do a better job of serving our famous food on every visit, in every restaurant.”

Equifax data breach: What to know

Credit reporting and technology company Equifax had data compromised in what it said was a cybersecurity incident that affected 143 million customers in the U.S.

>> Read more trending news

Here is what you need to know about the incident:

Equifax learned of the incident in July 2017. The breach occurred from mid-May through July 2017.

According to the FAQ on a website the company created to provide customers with information on the hack, Equifax found out about the breach July 29. The company said it “acted immediately to stop the intrusion and conduct a forensic review.” The company says the situation has been contained.

Birth dates, Social Security numbers, credit card numbers and addresses are among the information accessed.

Equifax said that in some instances, driver’s license numbers were also accessed by hackers. Some personal information from UK and Canadian residents was also accessed.

Consumers can enroll in free identity theft protection and credit monitoring.

Equifax has offered free credit monitoring for a year through its subsidiary TrustedID Premier. According Equifax, the credit monitoring service also provides Social Security monitoring, a credit report lock, credit report and identity theft insurance.

Consumers can go to EquifaxSecurity2017.com to find out if their information was impacted by the breach.At the website, consumers can click the “check potential impact link and enter their last name and the last six digits of their social security number. The consumer will get a message alerting them whether or not their data was compromised.

Barack Obama not looking to buying Kennedy’s Martha’s Vineyard estate

Despite rumors, former President Barack Obama is not looking to purchase a home on Martha’s Vineyard, Business Insider reports.

>> Read more trending news

Obama’s spokesperson, Kevin Lewis, denied reports that the former first family was looking to purchase a vacation home.

The Boston Globe reported earlier in the week that the “word around the island” was that the Obamas, who have vacationed on the island off the Massachusetts’ coast multiple times, were looking for homes in the rural communities of Aquinnah, Chilmark and West Tisbury.

>> Related: Sasha Obama works summer job on Martha's Vineyard

The Globe listed properties owned by Caroline Kennedy and her husband, Edwin Schlossberg, as ones of particular interest to the Obamas.

>> Related: Barack, Michelle Obama sign multimillion-dollar book deal with Penguin Random House

Kennedy owns two parcels of land, which were both originally part of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis’ 366-acre estate, Red Gate Farm. Both pieces of property are currently on the market for $12 million and $15 million, respectively.

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