Credit monitoring company Equifax announced on September 7th that they experienced a data breach that exposed credit information for approximately 143 million individuals. This information included the person’s name, social security number, date of birth, current and previous addresses, and potentially their driver’s license number. Approximately 182,000 individual’s credit card numbers were also exposed. The breach is still under investigation, and these numbers may change as more information is discovered.
Equifax has a website with information surrounding the breach at https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com. You can check if you were affected by the breach by either following the “Potential Impact” link at the top of the page or enrolling in their free credit monitoring service by clicking the “Enroll” link.
We suggest that affected users consider issuing a freeze on their credit accounts. Brian Krebs, a well respected information security expert, has written an excellent article describing a credit freeze and how to achieve it. Please note that this will also prevent anyone from checking your credit for legitimate purposes—like applying for a loan—unless you temporarily unfreeze your credit.
As with all highly publicized news items, this breach will lead to an increase in the number of phishing attacks. Attackers often use the hype surrounding these events to trick people into turning over their credentials or other personal information. It is important that everyone continues to be extremely cautious when dealing with email or phone messages that claim to be Equifax or some other credit-related business. If you receive a suspicious email or call, please report it to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we would be happy to attempt to validate it for you.