Equifax security breach affects 143 million people - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Equifax security breach affects 143 million people

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WSIL -- A security breach at one of the three big credit reporting agencies means our personal data could have fallen into the hands of hackers.

143 million people, more than one third of the population, had their personal data compromised by hackers who targeted Equifax.

The company said this happened sometime between mid-May and July.

Mark Rogers, associate professor at John A. Logan College said the hackers got through a vulnerability in the company's website.

"That's a fairly common way for criminals to break into places like this," Rogers said.

Rogers said the breach will affect almost everyone with a credit history, including anyone with a credit card, a mortgage, a car loan or even a student loan.

"Odds are if it's not you, it's your spouse or your significant other or a person next door," Rogers said. "This is probably going to be the major security breach of all time."

So how do you protect yourself if your data has been taken?

Tom Imboden, associate professor at SIU, said monitor your credit reports for fraudulent activity and ask for a credit freeze.

He warned that's not an easy fix, though.

"I've personally in the past been affected by identity theft and put a credit freeze where they won't issue you any new credit," Imboden said. "You could do that but if you're going to buy a new house or a new car, that could cause problems as well."

How do you know if the hack hit you?

Equifax wants you to use the website EquifaxSecurity2017.com. Once you're there, you'll need your last name and the last six digits of your social security number. That's when you'll find out it if your data has been breached or not.

If it has been, the website will ask you to enroll in the Trusted ID Premier program and give you a date to follow up.

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