Equifax, which monitors credit, said today (Thursday, September 7, 2017) a security breach could potentially affect 143 million U.S. customers. The breach represents 57 percent of the nation’s population.
The company said “criminals exploited a web application” to gain access to files that include names, social security numbers, birth dates, addresses and some driver’s license numbers; 209,000 credit card numbers and personal ID information on 182,000 consumers were accessed by the hackers.
Equifax discovered the breach and immediately stopped the hack. The company hired a cybersecurity firm to review the intrusion and what data was stolen. The company also says they are working with law enforcement.
“This is clearly a disappointing event for our company, and one that strikes at the heart of who we are and what we do. I apologize to consumers and our business customers for the concern and frustration this causes,” said Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Richard F. Smith.
The company set up a website, www.equifaxsecurity2017.com so that consumers can determine if their information is compromised. People can also call 866-447-7559 every day, including weekends, from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. ET.
The Equifax breach is more than three times as large as the 2013 Target hack that exposed 41 million customers. Target wound up paying an $18.5 million settlement in lawsuits resulting from the hack.