The latest Equifax hack might not be the biggest hack in recent memory, but it could be one of the worst in substance.
That’s because the Equifax hack contains arguably the most sensitive data about individuals — about 143 million of them — including social security numbers, full names, addresses, birth dates, and even drivers licenses and credit card numbers for some.
This information is the kind that several businesses like financial companies, insurance companies, and other security-sensitive businesses use to identify a customer accessing their accounts from online, by phone, or even in person. The breach also lends itself perfectly to future identity theft.
Hackers have had access to this information between May and July, and it’s taken five weeks for the company to disclose the breach. The Atlanta-based credit reporting agency set up a site, equifaxsecurity2017.com, to help you find out whether your information was compromised (though keep in mind that using the site will waive your right to join any class-action lawsuits against Equifax unless you opt out via mail). You can also access the site via Equifax’s homepage, and if you’d rather call, there’s also a phone line dedicated to the breach: 866-447-7559. Business Insider has a step-by-step guide guiding you through the process.
With that said, there’s have been a tidal wave of criticism about Equifax’s approach to the breach despite the five weeks the company has had to set up proper preparations. Some have found that the company’s response has been vague, and some have even questioned the validity of Equifax’s site that’s designed to check whether or not you have been affected.
Whether you use the site or not, it’s worthwhile looking into fraud protection services and checking the security of your accounts with your banks and any other data-sensitive service you might use to prevent any type of damage to your finances, property, or identity.