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10:48 AM

Equifax Data Breach - What Can Consumers Do?

equifax data breach
Published September 8, 2017

Equifax has reported that a giant cybersecurity breach compromised the personal information of as many as 143 million Americans — that’s almost half the country.

What Can Consumers Do?

  • Visit Equifax’s dedicated website,, for up to date information about the breach.  At this website consumers can also determine if their information has been potentially impacted by entering their last name and last 6 digits of their social security number.  Those affected will be given a date to enroll in free identity theft protection and credit file monitoring services.
  • Call 866-447-7559, to reach Equifax’s call center for any questions related to this incident.
  • Check online account statements and credit card statements on a regular basis, ideally weekly. The bad guys can be very patient, so it's important to keep an eye out long after this story fades from the headlines.
  • Equifax is also mailing notices to individuals whose credit cards or dispute documents were affected.

What Happened?

Cyber criminals have accessed sensitive information -- including names, social security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and the numbers of some driver's licenses.

Additionally, Equifax said that credit card numbers for about 209,000 U.S. customers were exposed, as was "personal identifying information" on roughly 182,000 U.S. customers involved in credit report disputes.  Residents in the U.K. and Canada were also impacted.

The breach occurred between mid-May and July, and the company said it discovered the hack on July 29th.

"This is clearly a disappointing event for our company, and one that strikes at the heart of who we are and what we do," said Equifax chairman and CEO Richard F. Smith.

Equifax is one of three nationwide credit-reporting companies that track and rates the financial history of U.S. consumers.  The companies are supplied with data about loans, loan payments and credit cards, as well as information on everything from child support payments, credit limits, missed rent and utilities payments, addresses and employer history, which all factor into credit scores.

Unlike other data breaches, not all of the people affected by the Equifax breach may be aware that they're customers of the company.  Equifax gets its data from credit card companies, banks, retailers, and lenders who report on the credit activity of individuals to credit reporting agencies, as well as by purchasing public records.

Information for this article was sourced from CNN and Equifax

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