Original Illustration by Stephanie DeAngelis
If you've gotten your credit checked in the last few years, there's a chance you may have gotten hacked. Equifax, one of the three major credit reporting agencies, announced that it was the victim of a cyberattack late Thursday night, potentially compromising the information of up to 143 million people, reports the New York Times. Your social security number and driver's license number may be at risk.
"This is about as bad as it gets," said Pamela Dixon, executive director of the World Privacy Forum, a nonprofit research group, to the Times. "If you have a credit report, chances are you may be in this breach. The chances are much better than 50%." Avivah Litan, a fraud analyst at Gartner, added that "on a scale of one to 10 in terms of risk to consumers, this is a 10."
Equifax has since created a website designed to help people determine whether their information was hacked; users need to enter their last name and the last six digits of their social security number to see if they may have been impacted. But as the newspaper points out, users will "not necessarily get a confirmation about whether or not they were affected. Instead, the site provides an enrollment date for its protection service, and it may not start for several days." Mark your calendar with your enrollment date, as the site will not automatically remind you. Equifax also recommends contacting a law enforcement agency if you believe your information is at risk.