Folks, I realize the internet is abuzz with different companies being hacked and alerts about all sorts of data breaches, but this one is not just a some-company-somewhere type of hack you can disregard. Neither is this an oh-no-let-me-call-so-and-so. This one will directly affect many many people over the course of many years. Let me explain.
According to THIS article from Cnet, “By exploiting Equifax website’s vulnerability, the hackers were able to acquire names, social security numbers, birth dates, home addresses and some drivers’ license information.”
So that means, the information that was used to identify you while opening accounts and reporting credit rating information has become available to the hackers and will be sold on the “black market.” Anyone that has this information can use it to do so. That means the hackers potentially have your driver’s license information and all relevant personally identifiable information.
To help compensate, Equifax has offered a free subscription for their credit monitoring service to all US citizens for 1 year, but I say this is not enough.
This hack is huge… not just because it poses a threat right now to millions of people, but it also poses a threat into the forseeable future. According to THIS ArsTechnica article (and common sense), “…the leaked data could have a much longer lifetime than a year on the black market for identity theft and credit fraud, because the information obtained in the attack is irreplaceable. Unlike relatively disposable data such as credit card information or bank account numbers, the data obtained from Equifax could be held for years before use and still be effective.”
If you have seen the articles, you have been warned, and you have been warned here too. Please heed the warnings and go get the protection you need. THIS is the page you can go to check to see if you have been affected. This check has been reported to not be reliable by several sources, so everyone has been urged to go ahead and take steps to protect yourself regardless of the results of the report. This same link will, however, take you to a page to sign up for the free 1-year of protection from Equifax. You will have to wait for your appointed date to sign up, but do it anyway. That is not all you should do.
Clark.com is urging folks to go ahead and spend a small amount of money to lock your credit file, and I completely agree with them. You can do this at all 3 credit reporting agencies:
TRANSUNION – You will need to either create an account or login