143 million Americans’ personal information compromised due to data breach at Equifax

UPDATE: In addition to the breach, scammers are capitalizing on the anxieties of those whose data has been potentially stolen. It is reported that there are multiple phishing emails and phone call scams, known as vishing, asking for personal information. 

Legitimate representatives of Equifax will not contact those effected by email or phone. 

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Almost half of the country may be vulnerable to fraud after cyber criminals accessed sensitive information from Equifax, one of three credit-reporting agencies.

The stolen information includes names, social security numbers and addresses, according to CNN. In addition, credit card information of some 209,000 people was also taken.

“A breach like this is unprecedented,” says Greg Hedrick, Purdue’s chief information security officer. “Everyone should continue to check credit reports and bank statements in the event that their personal information was compromised by cyber criminals.”

Individuals who may be affected will want to sign up for a credit freeze with each of the three credit reporting agencies – TransUnion, Experian and Equifax – to further guard against fraud this tax season. The freeze can be initiated within minutes online for free at the Indiana Attorney General’s website. Once a freeze is initiated, you can temporarily lift it anytime to apply for new credit or a loan.

Students, faculty and staff should contact the police if they think they have been a victim of identity theft.

Writer: Kirsten Gibson, technology writer, Information Technology at Purdue (ITaP), 765-494-8190, gibson33@purdue.edu

Last updated: September 10, 2017

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