BOSTON (CBS) — The credit reporting company Equifax says a breach may have compromised personal information on as many as 134 million Americans.
Hearing about the hack, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey is launching investigation into the data breach and how it affected people in the Commonwealth.
The Atlanta-based company reported Thursday that consumers’ names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some cases, driver’s license numbers were exposed. Credit card numbers for about 209,000 U.S. consumers were also in the package of information stolen in the hack.
“This is really an enormous breach,” consumer advocate Edgar Dworsky said of the incident.
That’s because the company reported that consumers’ names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some cases, driver’s license numbers were exposed. Credit card numbers for about 209,000 U.S. consumers were also accessed.
Dworsky says the hackers have one purpose: “They’re really trying to steal your identity, your good credit,” Dworsky said.
He created ConsumerWorld.org to help people protect their credit. Dworsky warns that with all of the information Equifax stored, the hackers can potentially use the information to get credit using your name.
“They’re crooks. They want to be able to buy merchandise and send the bill to you,” Dworsky said.
The consumer advocate says if anyone has any concerns, they need to contact Equifax.
There’s only one catch. For consumers to find out if their data was compromised, the person had to enter his name and the last six digits of the Social Security Number.
Dworsky says to go to the Equifax web site and find out if you’re affected. But you still have to give your name and the last six digits of your Social Security Number to find out. That may make some consumers uneasy–giving more information to the people who lost the information in the first place.
The company is offering free credit protection for a year, but to get that, you have to agree to not be a part of a class action lawsuit against the company.
The company said hackers also accessed some “limited personal information” from British and Canadian residents.
Equifax said it doesn’t believe that any consumers from other countries were affected.
To find out if you are potentially impacted, please go to www.equifaxsecurity2017.com.