Equifax breach compromises personal information for 143 million - Tri-State News, Weather & Sports

Equifax breach compromises personal information for 143 million Americans


Equifax, one of America's largest credit rating companies, announced it is the most recent company targeted by hackers.

It is being called the most damaging data breach ever. Equifax said the personal information for as many as 143-million Americans, that's half of the country's population, could now be in the hands of criminals.

Names, addresses, social security numbers, birth dates, and driver's licenses were stolen from the company responsible for protecting your identity. 

Alex Huber with Desktop Doctors in Evansville said you should closely monitor your credit score and make sure there is no fraudulent activity on your accounts. 

Equifax set up a website for customers to check if their information was breached, but Huber warns that putting your information into that website could also be dangerous.

"By you going on to that website and putting in your last name and the last 6 digits of your social security number, how are you going to know that the same thing's not going to happen to that?" Huber told us. "It also enrolls you into one of their credit monitoring systems. They say it's going to be free for the first year, but after that first year that's a great opportunity for them to stick you with a 19.99 per month subscription fee that you have to contact them on the phone to get out of." 

If you are concerned that your information may have been compromised, Huber recommends that you check with another credit reporting agency.

There are also services out there that monitor it for you for a fee.

Equifax said criminals collected information between May and July. The company discovered the breach on July 29, but we are just now learning about the risk. Equifax said it will send direct mail notices to consumers whose credit card numbers were collected. 

If you use the Equifax website, Huber said, "Once you go onto that website they give you a signup date that you have to come back and then re-enroll in their system. So it's not like you can just go there today and enroll and expect to be covered with this new monitoring program that they have. You really just have to keep on your credit. Make sure that your social security number wasn't stolen, and if it was, make sure you get with your bank."

Equifax says its investigation is ongoing.

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