If you thought that the Target or Verizon data breach was bad, then wait until you hear about this. It seems that one of the big 3 credit bureau was hacked and 143 million peoples personal information was exposed. To give you a better idea of the magnitude, let’s take that the US population is nearly 327 million people. It seems that almost half the US population’s sensitive information may have been exposed. Now that is pretty scary. To make matters even worst, Equifax found out about the data breach in July 29. So why does a company with so much sensitive data on people wait over one month to let the public learn about this? It seems that Equifax is not saying much about it.
What information was accessed?
By exploited a vulnerability in Equifax’s website, hackers were able to acquire names, social security numbers, birth dates, home addresses and other information. Credit cards for an estimated 209,000 consumers and dispute documents containing PII (personal identifiable information) for approximately 182,000 were accessed.
What is Equifax doing about it?
Equifax has setup an enrollment page to find out if you were one of the 143 million people affected by the breach. Please not that by enrolling in this program you are waiving your right to sue Equifax either by yourself or part of a class action law suit.
What you can do?
You can contact all three credit bureaus and put a freeze on your credit. This will make it difficult for criminals to open accounts in your name.
- Equifax – 1-800-349-9960 (they may be a little busy right now 😉 )
- Experian – 1-888-397-3742
- TransUnion – 1-888-909-8872
Download a free credit monitoring service such as Credit Karma, Credit Sesame or Nerd Wallet. Here is a pretty good list of others: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_free_credit_report_websites
Pull your credit report for free. Each year people are allowed to pull their complete credit report for free. Simple head over to https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action. You may be signed up for some sort of credit monitoring service as part of the process. If so, cancel the service after you receive your report.