Find out if your personal information was accessed in the Equifax security breach
143 million Americans affected by the cyber attack.
One of the United States’ largest credit reporting agencies, Equifax, has revealed criminals gained unauthorized access to the personal information files of hundreds of millions of consumers.
The security breach, discovered in late July, was believed to have begun in mid-May, providing hackers with consumers’ names, social security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and in some cases, driver’s license details.
We recently discovered a cybersecurity incident involving consumer information. Once discovered, we acted immediately to stop the intrusion.
— Equifax Inc. (@Equifax) 7 September 2017
Additionally, the credit card numbers of around 209,000 US consumers were accessed in the attack, as well as particular dispute documents with identifying information for approximately 182,000 US consumers.
Equifax also identified unauthorized access to limited personal information for some UK and Canadian residents. The company said it plans to work with those country’s regulators to determine what to do next.
There was no evidence of unauthorized activity on core consumer or commercial credit reporting databases.
How to find out if your information was breached
Equifax will mail letters to those consumers whose credit card numbers or dispute documents were exposed. The company also created a web portal to help Americans identify whether their information was impacted.
It’s quite simple. Head over to the consumer security notice website and click on the “potential impact” link. Provide your surname and the last six digits of your social security number. Based on the information you submit, you’ll receive a message indicating whether your personal information may have been revealed.
The website also contains information on steps consumers can take to protect their personal information.
Equifax is also offering complimentary identity theft protection and credit file monitoring services for one year.
If you sign up for free protection, you will receive an enrollment date. On this date, you must return to the website and follow the instructions to activate the monitoring service. Enrollment ends Tuesday 21 November.
However, TechCrunch reports that the terms of service on Equifax’s website evidently state that by agreeing to use TrustedID Premier, the user is waving their rights to bring a class action lawsuit against the company.
In a statement released yesterday, Equifax chairman and chief executive Richard F. Smith apologized to consumers and business customers, emphasising that “this is clearly a disappointing event for our company”.
Smith added that Equifax has engaged a leading, independent cybersecurity firm to conduct a full assessment and provide supporting recommendations to help prevent this type of incident from occurring again.
The credit agency also offered some tips on identity theft protection, warning consumers to remain vigilant, properly review account statements and regularly monitor their credit reports.
You can obtain a free copy of your credit report by sending an online request or calling toll-free 1-877-322-8228.
If you believe you’re the victim of identity theft, Equifax advises you contact the proper authorities, including local law enforcement, and consider liasing with your state attorney general or the Federal Trade Commission.