That means Social Security numbers, birth dates and home addresses were stolen by hackers.Equifax said the breach began in May and continued until it was discovered in late July. Equifax also lost control of an unspecified number of driver’s licenses, along with the credit card numbers for 209,000 consumers and credit dispute documents for 182,000 others. “The type of information that has been exposed is really sensitive,” said Beth Givens, executive director of the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, a consumer advocacy group based in San Diego.
Equifax will not be contacting everyone who was affected, but will send direct mail notices to those whose credit card numbers or dispute records were accessed. Consumers can go to go to www.equifaxsecurity2017.com and sign up for credit file monitoring and identity theft protection free service for one year. Once they once submit the personal information will receive a message indicating whether tey have been affected. Another way to protect is by immediately placing fraud alerts on personal credit reports so identity will be verified before issuing any credit. The Federal Trade Commission’s website has additional information about how to protect against fraud.