On September 7, 2017, Equifax, one of the three largest credit reporting bureaus in the nation, disclosed a massive data breach had occurred that potentially affects 143 million Americans – nearly two-thirds of the adult U.S. population. The compromised data includes names, social security numbers, birthdates, driver’s license numbers, addresses and credit card numbers.
Exploiting a web application vulnerability, hackers gained access to highly sensitive financial and personal information from May to July 2017. After discovering the data breach on July 29, 2017, Equifax enlisted a cybersecurity firm to determine what data the hackers had infiltrated. However, while waiting on the cybersecurity report, the stolen data could have already been used for credit card fraud or illegally sold on the black market for identity theft.
To make matters even more critical, the valuable personal information the hackers got their hands on doesn’t change. This data breach could potentially impact victims’ personal and financial information for months and years to come.
“This is clearly a disappointing event for our company, and one that strikes at the heart of who we are and what we do,”
Equifax Chairman and CEO Richard Smith said in a statement issued with the announcement. “I apologize to consumers and our business customers for the concern and frustration this causes.”
Equifax is now alerting customers whose information was included in the breach – and has created a website for consumers to check if their data was breached: www.equifaxsecurity2017.com.
What can you do to help stay protected? Early detection is critical to minimizing damage to your credit and finances. Make it a point to regularly check your credit scores from TransUnion, Equifax and Experian – and examine your credit reports carefully for changes. Because the danger from this massive Equifax data breach will be ongoing, ScoreSense® credit monitoring can be a valuable tool by alerting you to suspicious activity that may signal a potential threat.