Credit monitoring agency Equifax revealed shocking news late September 7: A data breach of the company’s servers from mid-May through July 2017 resulted in the theft of the personal information of up to 143 million U.S. consumers— a huge chunk of the country’s 324 million population.
Equifax says the breach leaked highly sensitive information, too, including “names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers.” That’s everything crooks need to open up credit lines in your name, or worse. And now it’s in nefarious hands.
Equifax hack: Was I affected?
Shamefully, Equifax won’t be contacting most of the 143 million victims directly to let them know they’ve fallen prey to data hackers. The hackers also swiped credit card numbers for 209,000 people, and “certain dispute documents with personal identifying information” for 182,000 more. Equifax will mail those particular victims—far less than 1 percent of everyone affected—a notice that they were affected by the breach.
Modus operandi: The waitress whisks away your credit card and swipes it through the restaurant’s register. Then, she pulls out a small device, about the size of an ice cube, and swipes the card through that also. While you’re scraping the last of the chocolate frosting from your plate, your credit card information has been stored in the device, known as a skimmer. The waitress returns your card and performs the same magic trick on dozens of credit cards in a week.
Known whereabouts: The data-stealing waitress has been known to moonlight as a bartender, sales clerk or at any place where they can take your credit card out of sight.