Equifax data breach affects social security & credit card numbers
Customers of Equifax (a consumer credit reporting agency) in the US, Canada, and the UK have been hit with one of the most significant data breaches known to man, as 140+ million people will feel the lingering affects of an inter-country hack.
Credit card numbers for more than 209,000 people are estimated, at this time, to have been exposed. The vulnerability in the company’s software was discovered on July 29th, and reports suggest that the hackers may have had access to Equifax’s customer information since May 2017.
This data breach far surpasses the severity of any of 2016’s major breaches, including a Yahoo! attack that affected more than 500 million users. While the Yahoo! breach might have affected a higher number of users in total, the data jeopardized in the breach of Equifax actually affects more personalized information that could harm a customer’s credit score and bank accounts.
What can you do moving forward?
First of all, ASSUME YOU HAVE BEEN HACKED.
Nearly half the country has been affected by this super-massive data breach, so it’s safe to assume that you too have fallen victim.
In response, Equifax has offered complimentary credit monitoring services and identity theft protection services for a full year for all users who may have been impacted by the breach. So, by now you’re wondering how do I find out if I’ve been affected?
Customers who may have been impacted can reach out to Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion (the three major credit reporting agencies) to place a “freeze” on their credit reports, which helps prevent hackers from opening new credit cards with your account information. After placing the “freeze” on your account, you’ll be given your own custom PIN number that only you can use to allow future credit reports be run by companies attempting to open accounts in your name.
This “freeze” will have no impact on your current bank accounts or credit cards. The average cost for placing a “freeze” on your account ranges from $3 to $10 depending on the state you live in. The cost to “thaw” or use the PIN number in the future ranges around the $10 mark, as well. This “freeze” will remain on your account until it is personally requested to be removed. (Kentucky, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, and South Dakota are the only states that remove the “freeze” automatically after 4 years.)
Equifax executives sell stock ahead of data breach announcement
If it wasn’t bad enough for Equifax already, three of Equifax’s executives, Joseph Loughran, John Gamble, and Rodolfo Ploder have reportedly sold portions of their own private stock in the company ahead of the data breach announcement totaling nearly $2 million.
Equifax made a statement with CNNMoney saying that the executives “had no knowledge that an intrusion had occurred” before the stocks were sold. Equifax’s stock has now dropped more than 17 points (12%) since the company made the formal public disclosure of the data breach.
If you have any questions about the data breach or what you can do to ensure your sensitive information is always protected via email, give us a call today at (877) 613-5036. We’re here to help!