What You Need to Know About the Equifax Data Breach

website warning of data breachIn September, credit reporting agency Equifax revealed that it was the victim of a massive data breach. From mid-May through July, hackers had access to Social Security numbers, credit card numbers and other personal information for 143 million Americans.

Equifax revealed that hackers stole credit card numbers from approximately 209,000 people and personal identifying information from approximately 182,000 people.

If any of your personal information was stolen during this data breach and you were a victim of some form of fraud, contact our trusted attorneys in Sacramento for a free legal consultation.

Details on the Breach

Equifax discovered the breach on July 29 and revealed it to the public via press release earlier this month.

The scope of this data breach makes it one of the largest in U.S. history. Hackers were able to gain access to various types of personally identifiable information:

  • Social Security numbers
  • Birth dates
  • Driver’s license numbers
  • Addresses
  • Names

The press release noted that hackers gained access to this information by exploiting a vulnerable website application.

At this point, Equifax has not found any evidence of unauthorized activity on core consumer or commercial credit reporting databases. However, victims of the data breach are at risk of various forms of fraud, including:

  • Using a victim's credit card
  • Taking over a victim's credit card account
  • Creating credit card accounts in the victim's name
  • Using a victim's Social Security number for employment purposes
  • Using a victim's Social Security number to obtain credit

The credit reporting company is conducting an assessment of the situation and coming up with recommendations for the next steps it will take. Some of these steps are outlined in a press release from Sept. 15.

Equifax's press release contained an apology from the Equifax chairman and CEO to consumers and other customers for the concern and frustration caused by the breach.

How Can I Find Out if I was a Victim?

Equifax has set up a website so people can check to see if they were victimized by this massive data breach.

When you click the button that says "Check Potential Impact," it will ask for your last name and the last six digits in your Social Security number. Once you enter this information, you will receive a message indicating whether your personal information may have been exposed in this hack.

Regardless of what your message says, you should take the following steps to help spot fraud with your personal information:

  • Monitor your credit reports closely – You can get a copy of your credit report for free online, over the phone or through the mail. Look for any accounts or activity that you do not recognize.
  • Monitor credit card and bank accounts – If you spot any charges you do not recognize, it could be a sign of identity theft.
  • Consider doing a credit freeze – This makes it more difficult for someone to create an account in your name.
  • Consider using a fraud alert – This could be an alternative to a credit freeze. It alerts creditors that you might have been a victim of identity theft and instructs them to verify that anyone who seeks credit with your name is actually you.

Contact Our Experienced Attorneys Today

If you suffered any form of fraud or identity theft during the Equifax data breach from mid-May through July, you should strongly consider meeting with a lawyer to determine your legal options.

The attorneys at The Arnold Law Firm have extensive knowledge of identity theft and how to help victims fight back. We can work with credit reporting agencies on your behalf to help put a stop to identity theft.

Schedule your free, no obligation legal consultation right now to determine your legal options.

Call (916) 777-7777 or fill out a Free Case Evaluation form right now.