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Apparently, Hackers Got More From the Equifax Data Breach Than We Thought
The hits just keep coming from Equifax.
Back in September 2017, the credit bureau announced a data breach that exposed 145 million Americans’ personal data, including names, Social Security numbers, birthdates, addresses, and some driver’s license and credit card numbers.
Turns out, that wasn’t all, according to a document submitted to the Senate Banking Committee that The Wall Street Journal reviewed.
The document disclosed that cyber criminals may have also accessed tax identification numbers, email addresses, phone numbers, credit card expiration dates, and issuing dates and states of some driver’s licenses.
Equifax spokesperson Meredith Griffanti told CNNMoney that the original release of potentially compromised personal information wasn’t intended to include all the information that was possibly exposed in the attack.
The scary factor is that most consumers never gave Equifax this information. It gathered its data from social media, retailers and employers, leaving consumers even more vulnerable than they thought they were.
How to Tell if Your Information Was Exposed in Equifax Breach
Details weren't clear as to how many of the original 145 million people this affected, but Equifax told The Wall Street Journal that it mailed notices to affected consumers, and the hack on additional driver’s license information “was extremely minimal.”
Equifax said that anyone can find out if their data was potentially exposed by looking up their status on its website.
The precise amount of personal information the hackers accessed remains unclear, but those details make come soon. Sen. Elizabeth Warren continues to pursue Equifax for the full truth, claiming the attackers accessed tables that also included passport numbers. Equifax denies these claims.
Warren has asked for detailed information that includes what data hackers accessed and its processes for informing the public about by Feb. 16.
How You Can Protect Your Personal Information
As of October 2017, 59% of people still hadn’t checked to see if the breach affected them. Don’t let that be you. If the breach affected you, you can place a temporary freeze on your credit. Equifax recently extended to the deadline to freeze your credit until June 30.
Tax season is upon us, and with so much personal information swimming out in the cyberverse, there is a threat of your info falling into the wrong hands. Getting your taxes completed as soon as possible can help protect you against fraudulent filings.
Be diligent about your personal information, and consider signing up for free alerts when your credit report changes.
Stephanie Bolling is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. Her information was compromised in the breach. She has safeguarded her information by setting up credit alerts and already completed her taxes.