Equifax Breach: A Lifelong Threat

By Alisa Radut, Fall 2017 IAC Student Intern

I live in Atlanta, the capital of Equifax.  In light of the recent data breach, I have growing concerns about the safety of my personal information and identity, as might you.  Fortunately, our friends at the Federal Trade Commission have provided a useful and practical blog with advice on what to do in the event your information is compromised, as was that of 143 million U.S. consumers, as well as people in the Canada and the UK (that’s equivalent to almost half of the American population!).  As one of the three major credit reporting agencies, Equifax exposed millions of Americans’ social security numbers, birthdates, and addresses to the cyberattack. If you are one of the millions of people affected by the breach, or are just concerned about the safety of your personal information, the FTC recommends some steps you should take to help prevent the misuse of your sensitive data.  First, start by finding out if your information was compromised by visiting the Equifax website.  Next, obtain free credit reports from all three reporting agencies (Equifax, Transunion, and Experian), and report any activity you do not recognize.  It is important you continue to monitor your existing accounts closely and frequently. Increasingly worrisome is the rate and frequency at which big companies are experiencing these types of data breaches, which could create life-long identity theft threats.  A security analyst on USA Today advises consumers to monitor their financial activity weekly, as data obtained is likely to be used for years.  Also troubling is the fact that major executives of Equifax sold their stock a month before the press release reporting the breach.