What you need to know about the Equifax breach

But it’s also made it increasingly hard, if not impossible, to protect our personal data.

The hackers were able to access the names of customers and their Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and for certain cases, also their driver’s license numbers. Equifax said it will send direct mail notices to consumers whose credit card numbers were collected. Some people may receive a notice that personal information or credit card numbers were stolen.

Equifax registered its consumer assistance domain, www.equifaxsecurity2017.com, in August, but didn’t disclose the breach to the public until September 7.

“Watch your accounts, make sure someone is not opening credit for you”, said Bonnie Spain, Executive Director of Consumer Credit Counseling Service of the Black Hills.

Equifax has set up a website where you can check to see if your data was affected by the hack.

Customers are advised to contact their financial institutions as soon as possible so that they “can be enrolled in credit file monitoring and identity theft protection services, by submitting their name and the last six digits of their social security number”. After entering this information to the website, you have to hit the submit button at last.

If you’re affected, you get a message.

Breaches happen everyday but this one with Equifax feels personal, because it is.

By now you may have heard that 143 million consumer records were stolen from Equifax.

What you should do now?

Lenders rely on the information collected by the credit bureaus to help them decide whether to approve financing for homes, cars and credit cards.

The problem is, is that many of these problems – I mean, once your Social Security is out there, that’s not a one-year problem.

Cyber security expert Michael Kaiser says yes but “as we grow more and more online all these databases just become larger and larger and there can be vulnerabilities in them”.

Expect to check this information not just in the immediate future, but for the long term – potentially years. First, you have to file a complaint against this data breach to protect your information.

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