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FOS Blog

08 Sep

FOS Security Tip: Equifax Data Breach

FOS Security Tip: Equifax Data Breach

As you might have heard by now, Equifax has disclosed a massive data breach in which hackers gained access to some of its systems, compromising the personal information of about 143 million U.S. consumers. To put it into perspective the impact is expected to effective half of the U.S. Population.

Equifax said an internal investigation revealed hackers exploited a vulnerability in a U.S. website application to gain unauthorized access to files from mid-May through July. The company, however, said it hasn’t found any indication that its “core consumer or commercial credit reporting databases” had been comprised.

While a significant amount of information related to the breach is still unknown. Equifax has set up a dedicated website ( and phone number for concerned customers to call with questions. In addition, the company said it will mail notices to people who may have had their credit card numbers or personal identifying information exposed on dispute documents.

It is recommended that everyone visit the site and begin the enrollment process to see if your information was potentially compromised. Also, pay attention when you enroll as you will be assigned a date to finish the enrollment process. While you might not have directly used Equifax, banks, credit card companies, utilities, etc. all submit information to the three credit bureaus.  The information which is provided to the bureaus is used to make determination on new lines of credit, loans, and how your credit score is calculated.

Going forward, actively monitor you bank accounts and credit cards for unusual activity and obtain your 3 free credit reports annually. Federal law allows all consumers to obtain a free copy of their credit report every 12 months from each credit reporting agency. Lastly, you can initiate a credit freeze. Also known as a security freeze, this tool lets you restrict access to your credit report, which in turn makes it more difficult for identity thieves to open new accounts in your name. For more information on a credit freeze, refer to the FTC website:

In closing, I would also be extremely careful as the bad actors are going to try to use data breach as point of phishing. Be cognizant of any links you are clicking on. As a best practice, type the URL as opposed to clicking on a link or hover over the link to view the URL prior to clicking. When in doubt, don’t CLICK and DELETE.

Article compiled by Jeffrey Johns, for additional information please email