NEW YORK – A credit reporting agency announced that a cybersecurity incident could have affected as many as 143 million people across the United States.
Equifax says that a security breach released information of approximately 143 million customers including names, birth dates, Social Security numbers, addresses and possibly even driver’s license numbers.
According to a news release, credit card numbers for approximately 209,000 U.S. customers and other dispute documents with identifying information for 182,000 consumers were also accessed.
Equifax said it discovered the breach on July 29, and believe the unauthorized access occurred from mid-May through July.
“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 apologize 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. We also are focused on consumer protection and have developed a comprehensive portfolio of services to support all U.S. consumers, regardless of whether they were impacted by this incident.”
Officials say the investigation into the security breach is ongoing, but is expected to be complete in the coming weeks.
“I’ve told our entire team that our goal can’t be simply to fix the problem and move on. Confronting cybersecurity risks is a daily fight. While we’ve made significant investments in data security, we recognize we must do more. And we will,” Smith said.
Equifax has created a website to help consumers determine if their information was impacted and to sign up for credit file monitoring and identity theft protection. The service- including credit monitoring, copies of credit reports, identity theft insurance and Internet scanning for Social Security numbers- is all complimentary to U.S. consumers for one year.
For more information, visit the website or call 866-447-7559.