Credit reporting agency Equifax announced that the personal information for over a 140 million U.S. consumers was potentially compromised. The personal information includes names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and some driver's license numbers. Hackers may have also compromised credit card numbers for 209,000 U.S. consumers, as well as other "dispute documents" that contained identifying information for 182,000 consumers. Between mid-May and July, hackers gained access to names, Social Security numbers, credit card information, and other details of consumers. Some U.K. and Canadian residents' personal information was also compromised. Although the company’s investigation is substantially complete, it remains ongoing and Equifax has engaged an independent cybersecurity firm to conduct an assessment and provide recommendations for preventative future steps.
You can visit Equifax's website to find out whether your information has been compromised. Additionally, Equifax has setup a call center to assist consumers at 866-447-7559. The call center is open 7 days a week from 7:00 a.m. – 1:00 a.m. EST. Consumers whose personal information was impacted will also receive direct mail notices.
Due to the data breach, Equifax is offering one year of free credit monitoring and identity theft protection. The offer includes 3-bureau credit monitoring of Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion credit reports; copies of Equifax credit reports; the ability to lock and unlock Equifax credit reports; identity theft insurance; and Internet scanning for Social Security numbers. However, the enrollment period for the offer ends November 21, 2017.
We previously discussed proactive and reactive steps that consumers can take in response to the threat of identity theft. If you are worried about the immediate and long-term steps you can take to mitigate your risk of financial loss, then please review this article immediately. We also recommend that businesses consider their breach response plan in the wake of this news.