ALERT – THIS IS A PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT
DUE TO THE NATURE OF THIS INFORMATION, SPEED IS OF THE ESSENCE. PLEASE SHARE THIS WITH YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY TO ALERT THEM OF THIS POTENTIAL DATA BREACH.
This just in—millions of Americans have been left vulnerable after Equifax, the consumer credit reporting agency giant, has been hacked in a massive data attack. According to officials, cyber criminals have gained access to all kinds of information, ranging from credit card numbers and addresses, all the way to driver’s licenses and social security numbers.
While they’re still investigating the scope of the damage, it’s estimated that nearly 182,000 Americans have had “personal identifying information,” exposed while nearly 209,000 Americans may have had their credit card information stolen.
Equifax says a giant cybersecurity breach compromised the personal information of as many as 143 million Americans — almost half the country.
Cyber criminals have accessed sensitive information — including names, social security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and the numbers of some driver’s licenses.
Additionally, Equifax said that credit card numbers for about 209,000 U.S. customers were exposed, as was “personal identifying information” on roughly 182,000 U.S. customers involved in credit report disputes. Residents in the U.K. and Canada were also impacted.
The breach occurred between mid-May and July, Equifax said. The company said it discovered the hack on July 29.
The data breach is one of the worst ever, by its reach and by the kind of information exposed to the public.
“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 Americans are scrambling to recover their information, it seems that this apology has fallen on deaf ears.
What’s unique about this data breach is that many of the users whose credit card information has been exposed, aren’t even aware that it’s been exposed. Equifax gets its data from credit card companies, banks, and other financial institutions, who report on your credit activity without notifying you.
This is yet another example of the dangers of our technologically advanced society. While computers and the digital world have brought us incredible advancements, they’ve also brought us massive dangers. Thankfully, there is a solution, however.
If you’d like to know if your information was stolen, you can submit your name and the last six digits of your social security number here.
You’ll be given a date when to enroll in a free identity theft protection and credit file monitoring service, although no more information is available beyond this.
“This is reason number 10,000 to check your online bank statements and credit card statement on a regular basis, ideally weekly,” says Matt Schulz, senior industry analyst at a major credit card company. “Bad guys can be very patient, so it’s important to keep an eye out long after this story fades from the headlines.”
This is extremely important information—please share this article with your friends and family to keep their information safe!