By JESSIE HORTON
ERATH COUNTY (September 8, 2017) – Equifax, one of the three main credit reporting companies in the US, reported one of the largest data breaches in history Thursday, saying in a release that more than 140 million consumers were affected.
The release stated during the cyber security breach, which took place from mid-May through July and was discovered by the company on July 29, the hackers gained access to its data and potentially the personal information of approximately 143 million US consumers. Equifax said upon discovering the unauthorized access, it “acted immediately to stop the intrusion.”
The hackers gained access to vulnerable information including names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and for some, driver’s license numbers, as well as the credit card information of another 209,000 consumers.
“The company has found no evidence of unauthorized activity on Equifax’s core consumer or commercial credit reporting databases,” Equifax’s release said.
According to the release, the information of some British and Canadian consumers also was potentially affected.
“This is clearly a disappointing event for our company, and one that strikes at the heart of who we are and what we do. I apologize to consumers and our business customers for the concern and frustration this causes,” said Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Richard F. Smith. “We pride ourselves on being a leader in managing and protecting data, and we are conducting a thorough review of our overall security operations. We also are focused on consumer protection and have developed a comprehensive portfolio of services to support all U.S. consumers, regardless of whether they were impacted by this incident.”
Equifax has established a dedicated website, www.equifaxsecurity2017.com, to help consumers determine if their information has been potentially impacted and to sign up for credit file monitoring and identity theft protection. The offering, called TrustedID Premier, includes 3-Bureau credit monitoring of Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit reports; copies of Equifax credit reports; the ability to lock and unlock Equifax credit reports; identity theft insurance; and Internet scanning for Social Security numbers – all complimentary to U.S. consumers for one year. The website also provides additional information on steps consumers can take to protect their personal information. Equifax recommends that consumers with additional questions visit www.equifaxsecurity2017.com or contact a dedicated call center at 866-447-7559, which the company set up to assist consumers. The call center is open every day (including weekends) from 7:00 a.m. – 1:00 a.m. Eastern time.
In addition to the website, Equifax will send direct mail notices to consumers whose credit card numbers or dispute documents with personal identifying information were impacted.