Equifax Says Cyberattack May Have Hit 143 Million Customers

Tampa Bay Times via ZUMA

Late last week, Equifax disclosed that a vulnerability on their website resulted in the exposure of around 143 million data records.

They also stole credit card numbers for about 209,000 people and dispute documents with personal identifying information for about 182,000 people.

"To confirm, enrolling in the free credit file monitoring and identity theft protection products that we are offering as part of this cybersecurity incident does not prohibit consumers from taking legal action". That language landed the company in hot water with users and regulators alike.

If you're among the roughly 44 percent of the US population who is potentially jeopardized by the Equifax breach, there's a significant chance you or someone in your family has had their personal data compromised.

The initial announcement of the breach on September 7, which disclosed that the personal details of up to 143 million U.S. consumers were potentially accessed by hackers between mid-May and July.

Check with Equifax if you were impacted by the breach.

In basic terms, freezing your credit means placing restrictions on who can view your credit report.

Putting an extended alert on your credit report. However, there are options for those affected by the Equifax breach.

- Closely monitor their own credit reports, which are available free once a year, and stagger them to see one every four months.

A credit freeze is one of few measures affected Americans can take to protect against identity theft, or at least make it very hard for potential thieves, now that their personal information could be up for sale online.

Instead, the 10 digits corresponded to the time and date your credit file freeze was performed using the format MMDDyyHHmm, so if you performed the freeze on 9 September 2017, at 3.30pm, your PIN would read: 0909171530. It's particularly worrisome for the millions of people who trust credit-reporting agencies like Equifax to handle and protect their financial information. "Lifetime credit monitoring. Reimbursement for all other freezes". New York's attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, said his office aims to "get to the bottom" of how the breach occurred. The company is one of the three major bureaus that maintain databases of consumers' credit status, payment history and address information. Arbitration is slated to be barred in the financial industry next year by the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, but Republicans have sought to reverse that ruling.

Lenders use Equifax information to determine risks in financing people's mortgages and credit cards.

According to the lawsuit, Equifax can be blamed for " gargantuan failures to secure and safeguard consumers' personally identifiable information ... and for failing to provide timely, accurate and adequate notice " and it also mentions the massive stock sale that took place just days after three executives learned about the breach.


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