Equifax, one of the three major credit reporting agencies that provide credit scores for millions of Americans, revealed Thursday that the sensitive personal information of as many as 143 million people was stolen in a massive cyberattack spanning April through July. The compromised info includes social security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and in some cases, driver’s license info. Here’s what else you need to know before you start freaking out.
Considering the staggering number of people affected represents nearly half of the United States population, there’s a significant chance you’ve been impacted by the breach. On top of the pilfered personal info, the company said criminal hackers stole the full credit card numbers of 209,000 Americans as well as “limited personal information” citizens in the United Kingdom and Canada. The attack was discovered on July 29, and so far, Equifax says it’s working with authorities to complete its investigation into the incident.
"This is clearly a disappointing event for our company, and one that strikes at the heart of who we are and what we do,” Equifax Chairman and CEO Richard F. Smith said in a statement. “I apologize to consumers and our business customers for the concern and frustration this causes."
Basically, all of this should posit some alarm for anyone with a line of credit. Equifax advises customers to visit equifaxsecurity2017.com to see if your details were swept up in the massive attack. However, you'll need to input the last six digits if your social security number and your last name to see if you've been affected, which might be disconcerting for obvious reasons. If you're one of the unlucky victims of the breach, you'll get an advisory like this: