Equifax, one of the largest credit reporting agencies in the United States, was recently the victim of a massive cyber attack—an attack that may have compromised the personal information of 143 million people.
The breach itself occurred between mid-May and July 2017 when cyber criminals gained access to sensitive data by exploiting a weak point in website software. In the United States, sensitive information like Social Security numbers, birthdays, addresses and driver’s licence numbers were compromised.
Impacted individuals were not simply limited to the United States either, as the hackers gained unauthorized access to personal information of certain Canadian and U.K. residents. Equifax Canada has now confirmed that 100,000 Canadians were impacted in this cybersecurity breach and that personal information such as names, addresses, social insurance numbers (SIN) and, in limited cases, credit card numbers, may have been exposed.
If you are concerned that you may have been impacted by the breach, Equifax has set up a website to help individuals determine if any of their personal information may have been stolen.
If you have been affected by this breach, we suggest that they follow the steps below:
Read and keep the notice from Equifax Canada. If you were impacted by the breach, you should receive a notice in the mail from Equifax Canada. Please read it carefully to see what information was exposed and how. It’s good to keep this notice for your records. The notice provides a way to prove that the data was compromised through no fault of your own. It should be noted that it may not be obvious that you are a customer of Equifax, as the company gets its data from credit card companies, banks and lenders that report on credit activity. As such, it’s important to follow the appropriate steps and check to see if your information was compromised.
Review your accounts. Review your online bank and credit card statements on a weekly basis. Immediately report any unauthorized activity to your financial institutions and monitor your personal information. For impacted Canadians, Equifax Canada is offering complimentary credit monitoring and identity theft protection for 12 months.
To contact Equifax Canada about the cybersecurity incident, please call 1-866-828-5961 or email EquifaxCanadaInquiry@Equifax.com