As more information becomes available about the Equifax data breach, many consumers have questions relating to how it affects them — and their credit — personally.
The Atlanta-based credit reporting agency recently announced that as many as 143 million people were exposed when hackers exploited a website application to access protected files earlier this year. Equifax, one of three main cogs in the U.S. lending industry, waited six months to tell the public, leading to outrage and calls for class-action lawsuits.
One of the main questions consumers want to know is what kind of information was leaked in the data breach — and how much. Equifax said that the data includes names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and — in some cases — driver’s license numbers. Basically, enough info to get through the sturdiest of identity protection protocols.
To make matters worse, hackers were able to gain access to more than 200,000 credit card numbers belonging to American consumers. Also, identifying personal information belonging to 182,000 consumers was exposed when “certain dispute documents” were accessed, the company said.
Money expert Clark Howard says the No. 1 way to protect yourself from identity fraud is by freezing your credit.
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