Credit Reporter Equifax Experiences MASSIVE Cybersecurity Breach that Compromised the Personal Information of More than 140 Million Americans

Credit Reporter Equifax Experiences MASSIVE Cybersecurity Breach that Compromised the Personal Information of More than 140 Million Americans

 

Cyber criminals have accessed sensitive information -- including names, social security numbers, birth dates, addresses, driver's licenses, and some credit card numbers of over 140 million Americans — almost half the country. Residents of the U.K. and Canada were also impacted.

The breach occurred between mid-May and July, Equifax said. The company said it discovered the hack on July 29.  Equifax reported the breach on September 7.

The data breach is one of the worst ever, by its reach and by the kind of information exposed to the public.

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.

Equifax is mailing notices to people whose credit cards or dispute documents were affected. Equifax is offering a free year of credit monitoring through its TrustedID Premier business, regardless of whether you've been affected by the hack.

Monitoring services usually alert you when a company checks your credit history, a new loan or credit card is opened in your name, a creditor says a payment is late, or if public records show you've filed for bankruptcy, according to the FTC.

However, most credit monitoring services only track your credit reports. They still won't alert you to suspicious activity on your credit card or in your bank accounts, or assist you if a breach occurs.

Some monitoring services include identity theft protection, which will alert you when your personal information is being used in ways that doesn't show up on your credit report.

While these services can’t 100% prevent fraud from happening, some do offer identity recovery services to help you regain control of your identity and finances after identity theft occurs.

CPMA Members receive 10% off LifeLock identity protection services.  To learn more about LifeLock protection services and receive the 10% CPMA member discount click here

(Source: CNN Money [9/7 - 9/10, 2017])