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The gigantic Equifax data breach that saw 143 million U.S. customers have their sensitive credit information breached also affected 15.2 million U.K. records as well. There are thought to be some 700,000 U.K. victims of the breach who may have had their personal and sensitive information stolen.
Equifax has said they will reach out to victims by post to notify them of the data breach and offer free access to some form of data risk mitigation service.
Ironically, one of Equifax’s services as a credit reporting firm is fraud prevention. However, the massive data breach saw a vast amount of information exposed that could give criminals enough information to steal consumers’ identities and wreak all sorts of havoc.
Hacked information included:
- Names and user login details
- Birth dates
- Postal/home addresses
- Social security numbers/ National insurance
- Driving license numbers
- Credit card details
With a stolen identity, a criminal could take out credit cards, apply for loans and schemes in the data victim’s name. It can cost a victim thousands of pounds.
How it happened
According to results from an investigation, an Equifax engineer failed to patch up a known security vulnerability. This allowed hackers access to Equifax servers where the trove of information was stolen over a period of around two months.
As a result of the scandal, Equifax is facing a huge amount of criticism from authorities as well as consumers for the way the firm dealt with the breach. While the breach occurred sometime between May and July 2017, it was not disclosed until September. During that period , millions of people were potentially left at risk without knowing someone out there could have stolen, or may have the power to steal, their information.
One American woman from Seattle is filing a lawsuit against the company for alleged negligence in handling her personal information which has since led to her identity being reportedly stolen 15 times.
The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) are investigating the cyberattack. The authority has “the power to fine the firm or even withdraw its authorisation, which would prevent it from running credit checks in Britain.”
Our nation’s data protection watchdog, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), are also working with the FCA in investigating the breach.
The company’s CEO resigned in light of the leak, but millions of people have been potentially left vulnerable to identity theft and fraud.
Equifax has a lot to answer for and its affected consumers aren’t afraid to hold them responsible and claim for compensation for the damage they may have caused. We have already started helping a number of affected British consumers file claims against Equifax. If you suspect your identity has been stolen or your credit report affected, speak to one of our data protection experts to see how we can help.
IMPORTANT: advice on this page is intended to be up-to-date for the 'first published date'.
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