The personal details of 143 million Americans are at risk after a massive security breach at credit-reporting agency Equifax.
Equifax, one of the country’s largest credit-reporting agencies, says hackers stole “Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers” from its website after discovering a vulnerability in the system.
The hackers also gained access to credit card numbers for approximately 209,000 US consumers and certain dispute documents with personal identifying information for approximately 182,000 US consumers.
The breach occurred from mid-May through July 29, 2017. Equifax said in a statement that after discovering the breach it “promptly engaged a leading, independent cybersecurity firm” to investigate the extent of the crime.
It has also reported the incident to law enforcement agencies and expect the investigation to be completed in the coming weeks.
“This is clearly a disappointing event for our company, and one that strikes at the heart of who we are and what we do. I apologise to consumers and our business customers for the concern and frustration this causes,” said chairman and chief executive officer, Richard F. Smith.
“We pride ourselves on being a leader in managing and protecting data, and we are conducting a thorough review of our overall security operations.”
The company has established a website where people can check if their personal information has been stolen and is also offering free identity-theft protection and credit-file monitoring.
Equifax says it will contact every person whose credit card numbers or dispute documents with personal identifying information were breached.
You can check if your personal details were breached here.