CNN is reporting that Equifax has experienced a massive data breach of up to 143 million customers. Considering the current US population over the age of 18, that’s more or less every US adult. Equifax is a credit reporting service, one of three bureaus in the United States, that maintain extensive levels of personal data including Social Security Numbers.
According to an Equifax statement on the matter, the personal information of over 209,000 individuals has been exposed along with credit card details. The company further states that more than 180,000 such customers were in some form of a dispute process with the bureau. I found myself in that category, so I am particularly concerned.
The breach occurred between mid-May and July, Equifax said. The company said it discovered the hack on July 29.
“This is clearly a disappointing event for our company, and one that strikes at the heart of who we are and what we do,” said Equifax chairman and CEO Richard F. Smith.
While Equifax has reported that there have not yet been confirmed ill effects, it is offering customers extended identity theft and credit monitoring.
“No Evidence of Unauthorized Access to Core Consumer or Commercial Credit Reporting Databases”
While there are more questions than answers at this point, it does appear that the bureau has a decent amount of evidence and has thoroughly investigated the breach. They note that it is suspected to have taken place between May and June 2017 and have only announced today, suggesting to me that they feel they have adequate information on the breach. Credit reports for Canadian and UK residents might have also been affected.
You can check to see if your own account was impacted by following this link direct from Equifax: https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/potential-impact/
As a result of registering for myself, I faced this odd screen:
I wasn’t sure if this meant that I could only enroll on that day or only after that day (why not protect customers right now?) I checked the FAQs of enrollment. I found the following details:
- On your designated enrollment date, please return to this site, www.equifaxsecurity2017.com. For security purposes, you will be asked to re-enter your last name and the last six digits of your Social Security number.
- To enroll in TrustedID Premier, you will be asked to provide additional information to verify your identity. You also will need to provide a valid email address in order to complete the process.
- Within a few days, you will receive an email with a link to activate TrustedID Premier. Please be sure to check your spam and junk folders if you do not receive your activation email within that timeframe.
I’ll update as more details become available and as to my own experience.