143 Million U.S. Consumers Affected by Equifax Data Breach

By | September 8, 2017
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143 Million U.S. Consumers Affected by Equifax Data Breach

Equifax is one of the “big three” credit reporting agencies. So, even if you don’t do business with Equifax directly, they know your business. Equifax knows all about you: Your credit card numbers, your social security number, your home address, your phone number(s), the banks you do business with, and more.  So, even though you may have never heard of Equifax, Equifax has most certainly heard of you.

Here’s more:

There are 3 major credit reporting companies. They are:

  1. Equifax – www.equifax.com. P.O. Box 740241. Atlanta, GA 30374-0241. 1-800-685-1111.
  2. Experian – www.experian.com. P.O. Box 2104. Allen, TX 75013-0949. 1-888-EXPERIAN (397-3742)
  3. TransUnion – www.transunion.com. P.O. Box 1000. Chester, PA 19022. 1-800-916-8800.

Every time you apply for credit, these are the “go to” agencies lenders rely on to get your up-to-date credit profile and credit information, They use the information gleaned from the credit reporting agencies to determine your credit worthiness. Your credit card companies, your mortgage lenders, your bank or financial institution (if you have a bank loan or car loan) all report your payment history and credit information to all three credit reporting agencies.

These 3 companies have a whole lot of information about you and it’s constantly being updated. Every time you miss a payment on a loan or credit card ( or just about anything else) it’s most likely being reported to all 3 of these credit reporting agencies. Every time you apply for credit, the lender is almost certainly going to request your credit report from the “big 3”.

Your credit score is determined by your credit history, how many credit cards, retail charge accounts, loan accounts, and mortgages you have, your on-time payment history, how many times you’ve been late with payments, how many accounts have been turned over for collection, and more — just about every thing you do financially that involves credit, gets reported to one of these agencies.

You can see your current credit score and credit reports with two of these agencies free by signing up with Credit Karma (it’s free and there is no credit card  required).  And every U.S. citizen is entitled to one free credit report, per year, from each of the three credit reporting agencies. If you’re interested in learning more about this visit https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action .

On September 7, 2017, Equifax announced that 143 million U.S. Consumers. According to Equifax… “Criminals exploited a U.S. website application vulnerability to gain access to certain files. Based on the company’s investigation, the unauthorized access occurred from mid-May through July 2017…”

According to Equifax, they didn’t find any “unauthorized activity” on their core “consumer or commercial credit reporting databasesThe information accessed primarily includes names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers…”

Still, if you’re living in the U.S.A. and you have credit cards, loans, or mortgages, you should be extra vigilant and check your credit card(s) and debit card(s) statements very carefully.

Equifax is offering a free service ( for U.S. consumers) where you can check to see whether your personal information may have been breached. There’s no charge, no credit card required, and all you have to fill in is your last name and the last six digits or your social security number. We recommend you do this to find out if you may have had some personal information stolen.   Here’s what you’ll see when you visit the website where you can sign up for this free service:

When you begin, you will be asked to provide your last name and the last six digits of your Social Security number.

Based on that information, you will receive a message indicating whether your personal information may have been impacted by this incident. Regardless of whether your information may have been impacted, we will provide you the option to enroll in TrustedID Premier.

You will receive an enrollment date. You should return to this site and follow the “How do I enroll?” instructions below on or after that date to continue the enrollment and activation process. The enrollment period ends on Tuesday, November 21, 2017.

Visit this page to learn more, or sign-up for this free service and find out if any of your personal information has been impacted. NOTICE: We have now learned that participating in this service prevents you from participating in any class-action lawsuits against Equifax or any that may be brought in the future.

Finally, here’s the announcement made by Equifax:

September 7, 2017 — Equifax Inc. today announced a cybersecurity incident potentially impacting approximately 143 million U.S. consumers. Criminals exploited a U.S. website application vulnerability to gain access to certain files. Based on the company’s investigation, the unauthorized access occurred from mid-May through July 2017. The company has found no evidence of unauthorized activity on Equifax’s core consumer or commercial credit reporting databases.

The information accessed primarily includes names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers. In addition, credit card numbers for approximately 209,000 U.S. consumers, and certain dispute documents with personal identifying information for approximately 182,000 U.S. consumers, were accessed. As part of its investigation of this application vulnerability, Equifax also identified unauthorized access to limited personal information for certain UK and Canadian residents. Equifax will work with UK and Canadian regulators to determine appropriate next steps. The company has found no evidence that personal information of consumers in any other country has been impacted.

10 thoughts on “143 Million U.S. Consumers Affected by Equifax Data Breach

  1. Margie Paregian

    Understand your rights before getting involved in Equifax’s Identity Protection program. It does not look good to me plus you have to give them your personal information beyond what is mentioned above – the exact same personal information you are trying to protect – they have already proven their inability to keep it safe – why risk it with them? See below.

    “Equifax’s identity protection program, Trusted ID, is being offered to anyone who wants to enroll. The program is designed to help prevent identity theft and tampering with your credit. If you’re willing to give Equifax another chance, you can sign up for the program here. But, be aware: the checker that lets you know if you were hacked might be broken and enrolling in the program prevents you from participating in a class-action lawsuit against Trusted ID, but doesn’t prevent you from participating in lawsuits related to the cyber attack. “

    Reply
    1. infoave Post author

      This is kind of like closing the barn door after the horses have left. If you have ever had credit, they already have your information. So do the other two. And if you never had a credit card, a mortgage, a car loan or any sort of consumer credit, then you would have no reason to care. The 3 credit reporting agencies already have your personal information.

      We certainly appreciate your comments but to say you shouldn’t give your personal information to a company who already has all the information about you including your social security number is a bit paranoid. But you’re entitled to your opinion.

      I’d much rather give someone who already has all my info (without only tacit consent from me – unless I read the fine print on all applications from credit) than to give it to someone like “Lifelock” (a private company) who doesn’t have it unless I voluntarily give it to them (and then pay them every month).

      Personally, I have all my credit accounts set to to alert me by text message when any charge over $50 is made to any of my accounts. But many people don’t. I would sure want to be alerted if my credit or identity had been used without my knowledge than try to untangle it all after the fact.

      Almost 1/2 of the U.S. population had information stolen from Equifax. There’s a good chance that some of this information is going to be used by criminals. I would think it would be good common sense for a person to want to know if that happened to them – and right away before it snowballed out of control.

      Whether you give Equifax your info or not, they already have your:

      Name
      Address
      Phone Number(s)
      Credit Card(s) info
      Consumer credit info
      Load info
      Mortgage info
      Social Security number

      So what would you be giving them that they don’t already have, other than your permission to monitor your credit and let you know if something suspicious is going on?

      Reply
      1. May Dahl

        I seems your answer is directed toward Equfiax’s program “Trusted ID” …What about the link you posted “Credit Karma”? Their site asks for your info plus your entire SSN. I understand they use this for secure/proper location of the correct account, but you have made no mention of them in your reply. Or at least I missed it if you did. Thanks!

        Reply
        1. infoave Post author

          I don’t understand your question. We mentioned Credit Karma only as a site that allows you to see your credit reports free of charge. Many site advertise free credit reports, and then rip off consumers by charging them a monthly or yearly charge. It’s prudent to check your credit report to make sure there is no inaccurate information. Obviously, if you want to see your credit report you’re going to have to input your social security number and other personal information otherwise there no way to show your credit report. The U.S. government has mandated that everyone be allowed to access their credit report from all 3 credit reporting agencies one per year. You can use Annual Creit Report https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action to access your government mandated annual credit report access, however, you’ll have to give them your social security number and other personal information. If you do not want to to that, you don’t have to, but you won’t be able to view your credit report.

          Reply
  2. Shirley Woods

    S.C. pays for our monitoring because the sc tax computers were breached several years ago and they are still paying for the Protect My ID program for me. I like it very much and it also lets me know the status of child molesters, etc. in my nearby area. It alerts to change of addresses or info. I am extremely happy with it, and have had it 3-4 years now. Great service.

    Reply
  3. Margie Paregian

    Understood and agree – I tgo have all my credit cards set to alert when there are any charges. Probably the most important take away from this is the part where they make you agree to indemnify and hold them harmless (But, be aware: the checker that lets you know if you were hacked might be broken and enrolling in the program prevents you from participating in a class-action lawsuit against Trusted ID). I find that part self-serving and deceitful. It was their fault the problem now exists.

    Reply
    1. infoave Post author

      Thanks for this Margie, I will make a note that if your participate in TrustedID, you forego your right to participate in any class-action lawsuits against Equifax.

      This whole thing is a mess and probably just the tip of the iceberg [my opinion].

      PS: I have including this info about the class-action lawsuits in the article – in bold.

      Reply
  4. Marie

    Thank you, both of you, for the info. I had also read that by signing up for Equifax’s free credit monitoring you are signing away your right to participate in a class action law suit. It seems one has already been filed. I too have credit card alerts for all my cards set to the lowest possible threshold. The reason being that thieves will often try small purchases first, to see if the card is active and if they can get away with it. I also get free credit monitoring with one of my cards and I already have identity theft insurance through both my home owner’s insurance and with my credit card. I have no reason to sign up for what Equifax is offering and I think it is WAY too little too late. The information is out there, has been for months apparently, and is now out there FOREVER. What’ their measly year of monitoring going to do?? It changes nothing.

    Reply
  5. MaryLee

    Isn’t Emsisoft available to large companies or corporations like this? And if they’d had it, wouldn’t it have prevented this mess?

    Reply
    1. infoave Post author

      Emsisoft is an antivirus, antimalware, anti-ransomware. No security software, no firewall can prevent this type of data breach. If a company does not follow good security protocol and does not constantly monitor their systems they can be hacked. The U.S. government gets hacked, and goodness knows they can afford the best security hardware & software in world.

      Thanks for your comment

      Reply

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