Massive Equifax Hack Exposed Personal Information of 143 Million U.S. Consumers
Equifax, one of the companies Americans rely on to monitor their credit score said Thursday it has been hacked and the criminals may have made away with personal information of over 143 million U.S. consumers.
The company said the hack happened between May and July this year.
According to Equifax, the criminals obtained highly personal details such as names, social security numbers and driver’s licenses in some cases.
Also, credit card numbers of about 208,000 consumers and other dispute documents with personal identifiable information of about 182,000 U.S. consumers were also assessed by the criminals.
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.
The breach also affected consumers in Canada and United Kingdom and Equifax said it will work with authorities in U.K. and Canada to determine what it needs to do next.
“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.
In the U.S. there are three major credit reporting agencies. These companies track and rate the financial history of U.S, consumers. They obtain data about home loans, auto loans, loan payments and credit card payments. They also keep information about child support payments, credit limits, rental history, utility payments and employment history.
The company said it is mailing notices to individuals whose credit cards or dispute documents were affected.
You can also check to see if your personal information was compromised by going to Equifax website and entering your last name and the last six digits of your social security number. If you are affected, Equifax will give you a date when you will be enrolled in free identity theft protection and credit file monitoring services.
“This is reason Number 10,000 to check your online bank statements and credit card statements on a regular basis, ideally weekly. Bad guys can be very patient, so it’s important to keep an eye out long after this story fades from the headlines,” said Matt Schulz, senior industry analyst at CreditCards.com.
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