Equifax breach affects 143 million US consumers2017-09-08 15:24 by Daniela
Tags: Equifax, security
Sensitive information of up to 143 million Americans has been exposed as part of a massive security breach atcredit reporting company Equifax. The data includes Social Security numbers and addresses. The company acknowledged that criminals exploited a vulnerability on its website from mid-may through July. Equifax officials discovered the hack on July 29.
As many as 143 million people in the United States were hit. That's about 44 percent of the country's population. Others in the U.K. and Canada were also impacted, but Equifax hasn't said how many. Credit card numbers for about 209,000 U.S. customers were compromised, in addition to "personal identifying information" on about 182,000 U.S. customers.
The situation is being investigated by both the FBI and a security firm hired by Equifax. Those worried they may be affected can visit equifaxsecurity2017.com to check, but the company is asking for the last six digits of a person's Social Security number, and not necessarily giving any confirmation other than when they can enroll in planned protection service, which will be free for a year for anyone who signs up by Nov. 21. People can separately ask to have their credit reports frozen.
Social Security numbers, especially when combined with other exposed data such as driver’s license numbers, birth dates and home addresses, can allow identity thieves to impersonate you. They can apply for loans, housing, utilities and even government benefits in your name. Or, more likely, they can sell this data on the open market to those who will use it for those purposes and perhaps for other crimes we can't imagine.
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