Equifax Hacked! Were you one of the 143 Million People Whose Social Security, Date of Birth & Other Personal Info were Exposed

Updates from Original Post appear in Red [Originally posted September 8th at 10:58am]

Credit Monitoring Company Equifax, one of the three major consumer credit reporting agencies, announced that a cyber-attack left the Social Security numbers, date of birth’s and other personal information of 143 million U.S consumers vulnerable to hackers. There are about 320 million people in the U.S, so roughly 44% of the country are potentially affected.

Here’s the full statement released by Equifax:

What to do Now

As a result of the breach, Equifax has created a website to help their customers know whether their information was affected. Once on the website, click on “Check Potential Impact” and provide your last name and last 6 digits of your Social Security Number. You’ll then get a notification whether your personal information was impacted or not.

Equifax is offering 1 year of Trusted ID Premier – a credit monitoring and identity theft protection service, for free to everyone, regardless of whether your info was compromised or not. You can click here & go on “Begin Enrollment” to start the process. If it tells you to come back at a later date, then you’ll have to come back to the site “Continue Enrollment” after that date.  [Note: It appears that one of the terms for signing up for 1 year free of TrustedID Premier is that you can’t sue or participate in a potential class action lawsuit against Equifax. They’re likely facing a Multi-Billion Dollar lawsuit]. You can still check whether or not your info was compromised without having to enroll in this service. Update: “The arbitration clause and class action wavier included in the TrustedID Premier Terms of Use applies to the free credit file monitoring and identity theft protection products, and not the cybersecurity incident.” So you’ll still be able to sue or take part in the inevitable class action suit against them.

A couple of questions still remain:

Update 3:48pm: Equifax has opened up a Frequently Asked Questions Page to answer some of the questions we and many others had.

  • Why should we give even more responsibility to Equifax to monitor our credit with the TrustedID Premier if they did not protect us in this hack?
    • “We have engaged a leading, independent cybersecurity firm to conduct an assessment and provide recommendations on steps that can be taken to help prevent this type of incident from happening again.”
  • Why are they only offering one year free when as a result of this hack, our info is vulnerable long term
  • According to their press release, the hacked occurred back in July. Why didn’t they let us know about it sooner?
    • “As soon as Equifax discovered the unauthorized access, Equifax acted immediately to stop the intrusion. The company promptly engaged a leading, independent cybersecurity firm which has been conducting a comprehensive forensic review to determine the scope of the intrusion, including the specific data impacted. Because this incident involves a substantial amount of personal identifying information, the investigation has been complex and time-consuming. As soon as we had enough information to begin notification, we took appropriate steps to do so.”
  • According to SEC filings, several Equifax Executives sold nearly $2 Million of stock on August 1st and 2nd, a week after they discovered the breach. Equifax shares dropped 12.8% since the announcement yesterday. Did they indeed sell their stock after discovering the breach? Would be a clear example of insider trading.

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