New York Attorney General Opens Investigation into Equifax Hack
One of the three largest credit reporting agencies has reported a massive security breach. Equifax has learned that the personal financial information of over 140 million Americans has potentially been exposed. Now New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman wants answers.
In a letter sent to WIBX, Schneiderman says,
I have opened a formal investigation into the incident. Yesterday, I sent a letter to Equifax demanding more information about the breach. We will get to the bottom of how and why this massive hack occurred. If we find any wrongdoing, we will hold those responsible to account.
According to the Equifax website, the data breach occurred sometime between May and July. The website states,
On July 29, 2017, Equifax discovered that criminals exploited a U.S. website application vulnerability to gain access to certain files. Upon discovery, we acted immediately to stop the intrusion. The company promptly engaged a leading, independent cybersecurity firm which has been conducting a comprehensive forensic review to determine the scope of the intrusion, including the specific data impacted. Equifax also reported the criminal access to law enforcement and continues to work with authorities. Based on the company’s investigation, the unauthorized access occurred from mid-May through July 2017.
So how do you know if you may have had your information exposed to Hackers? Equifax and the Attorney General's office has made several resources available to determine whether or not your personal data has been compromised.
For starters, a website has been setup by Equifax for you to check if you were impacted by the breach. That website is https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/. Another way to identify suspicious activity is by going to annualcreditreport.com. This website is a free service that will allow you to check your current accounts and credit history. If you see an account or line of credit you do not recognize, then you may have fallen victim to identity theft.
The AG's Office also recommends taking the following actions,
- Consider placing a credit freeze on your files. It will not prevent a thief from using any of your existing accounts, but a credit freeze makes it harder for someone to open a new account in your name.
- Monitor your existing credit card and bank accounts closely for unauthorized charges. Call the credit card company or bank immediately about any charges you do not recognize.
- Since Social Security numbers were affected, there is risk of tax fraud. Tax identity theft happens when someone uses your Social Security number to get a tax refund or a job. Consider filing your taxes early and pay close attention to correspondence from the IRS.
Don't wait. Hackers could be using or even selling your personal information to other criminals to take advantage of you and severely damage your financial future. WIBX will continue to provide information as it becomes available on this situation. You may also check to see if your information was exposed by dialing 866-447-7559.