Everything You Need To Know About The Equifax Breach

Data Security Breaches

Everything You Need To Know About The Equifax Breach

Data security breaches are typical nowadays, unfortunately. There have been over 20 cyber attacks in 2017 so far. Just when we think we can make our way to 2018 without another one, one of the three largest credit reporting agencies, Equifax, reveals that a data breach discovered on July 29 may have impacted as many as 143 million U.S. consumers.

You heard that right. That means YOUR information was leaked to hackers and other criminal users.

So What Information Leaked?

Anything from your social security number, birth date, address, credit card numbers and more personal information may have been exposed.

Were You Affected?

How do you know if you were amongst those affected by this historical data breach? You can find out by going to equifaxsecurity2017.com– an Equifax run website- to help victims and consumers get to a resolution, and obtain important information related to this incident.

The company says that hackers accessed data between mid-May and July through a “vulnerability in a web application”.

Nearly half of the U.S. population – approximately 43 PERCENT – will feel the ramifications for years to come.

And yet, as of September 12, only around 15 million people had visited the Equifax website to check their breach status. That’s roughly 10% of those potentially affected.

Alex McGeorge, the head of threat intelligence at the security firm, Immunity, said, “Your Social Security number doesn’t change, so this data is going to get resold on the black market and hold its value for a while”.

What You Can Do

If you’re one of those people that feels the need to wait until ‘the facts come out’ before taking action, Eva Casey Velasquez, chief executive of Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC), applauds that. “That’s very logical”, she says. “But you know what they say: it’s better safe than sorry!” Velasquez also stresses that any precautionary steps that you can take here are ‘good steps’ regardless of whether or not you have been affected.

A great place to start is by setting up a temporary credit freeze- which prevents anyone, including yourself- from opening up a line of credit under your name until the ‘freeze’ is lifted. Also, a fraud alert system is recommended by many experts. When a line of credit is being requested under your name or SSN, the credit issuer will see a flag alerting them. They will need to make a call to whichever number is on file to confirm that the request is actually being authorized by you, and not a thief.

Equifax is also offering a year of FREE credit monitoring and identity theft insurance that you can (and should!) sign up for on their site if you’re a U.S. resident.

“But it seems likely that many more people aren’t doing much of anything, either because they don’t know about the breach (Equifax is not emailing or even confirming affected parties), or aren’t sure whether taking action will actually have an impact.”

Don’t be one of the people that stands back and thinks, “Maybe I’m not affected!”. Take precaution to find out if your private information was compromised.


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