What You Need to Know About the Equifax Data Breach

By on Sep 08, 2017

Equifax, one of the three major credit bureaus in the country, said on Thursday it suffered a major breach in late July. The breach enabled cybercriminals to access sensitive data on roughly 143 million consumers in the United States. This potentially exposed data includes names, addresses, birthdates, driver’s license data and Social Security Numbers, making this breach one of the most significant and damaging in recent history.

Equifax has taken action and launched a program to alert potentially affected consumers that their data may have been exposed. You can check on your data’s status at www.equifaxsecurity2017.com and clicking on the “potential impact” button on the bottom of the page. Equifax is also offering a free year subscription to its credit monitoring service, TrustID.

Consumers are strongly encouraged to sign up for this credit protection service or to obtain a free copy of their credit report from one of the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) to identify potentially fraudulent activity. Consumers can also ask each bureau to freeze their credit reports, which essentially prevents anyone — including legitimate consumers — from opening a new line of credit. If you suspect you’re the victim of identity fraud, immediately file a report with each credit agency.

The biggest takeaway here? This breach exposes one of the biggest risks in using single unique identifiers, like Social Security Numbers, as means of identification. If it can be memorized, it can be stolen — and that puts people like you and me at risk. There is a very strong need for a better national ID standard, but what form that’ll take is anyone’s guess.

Now more than ever, it is critical to stay in the know. Keep up to date on the latest consumer security threats by following me and @McAfee_Home on Twitter, and ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

About the Author

Gary Davis

Gary Davis was previously McAfee's Consumer Security Evangelist providing security education and advice to businesses and consumers. He is a sought-after speaker on trends in digital security, appearing at conferences and events, as well as security and consumer lifestyle broadcast outlets and publications such as ABC, NBC, FOX, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Money ...

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