Between mid-May and July 2017, Equifax experienced a cyber-security breach, which they promptly (!) reported to the public on September 7, 2017.
With equal speed (like that of a bored, well fed snail), they published notification on September 19 that about 100,000 Canadians may have had their personal information leaked.
In the United States, 143 million Equifax consumers’ personal data, including their full names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and, in some cases, driver license numbers were breached, and at least 209,000 consumers’ credit card credentials were taken in the attack.
“[W]e believe that the incident involves potential access to the personal information of approximately 100,000 Canadian consumers, and that the information that may have been breached includes name, address, Social Insurance Number and, in limited cases, credit card numbers,” their website states.
To find out if you were affected, they are pleased to inform you that they will “proactively” send you a snail mail.
And, if you were affected, they are equally pleased to offer you complimentary credit monitoring and identity theft protection for 12 full months.
Should you not be contacted, but still have questions, feel free to call them at 1-866-828-5961 or by email.
The information was not broadcast on their Equifax Canada Twitter account. However, if you follow them on Twitter, they proudly boast other important information, such as this delicious tidbit:
— Equifax Canada Co. (@equifaxcanada) August 15, 2017
If you wish to opt out of Equifax, we regret to inform you that you can’t. In fact, you never even signed up for it.
Equifax is one of two Canadian consumer credit rating agencies that have all of your personal data. You gave all your personal information to the bank when you applied for a loan, or when you bought that car. They handed it over to the consumer credit rating agencies; Equifax and TransUnion are the two Canadian companies with whom you are listed. It is they, together with your consumer information, that ultimately decide how much you will pay in interest on all your loans.
–Equifax press release issued on September 19, 2017:
Equifax Provides Canadians with Additional Clarity on Cybersecurity Incident Involving Consumer Information
Equifax Canada is providing additional information to Canadians that may be among certain consumers impacted by a cybersecurity incident announced last week by Equifax Inc. On September 7, 2017, the company announced that criminals exploited a U.S. website application vulnerability to gain access to certain files. Based on the company’s investigation, the unauthorized access occurred from mid-May through July 2017. Although it was originally thought that the incident was limited to U.S. consumers, Equifax discovered shortly before the September 7 announcement that some Canadian and U.K consumers were also impacted.
While our investigation is ongoing and this information may change, at this point, we believe that the incident involves potential access to the personal information of approximately 100,000 Canadian consumers, and that the information that may have been breached includes name, address, Social Insurance Number and, in limited cases, credit card numbers.
Equifax Inc. discovered the unauthorized access on July 29 of this year and acted immediately to stop the intrusion. The company promptly engaged a leading, independent cybersecurity firm to conduct a comprehensive forensic review to determine the scope of the intrusion, including the specific data impacted. Equifax also reported the criminal access to law enforcement and continues to work with authorities.
Equifax Canada is working in close coordination with Equifax Inc. and the independent cybersecurity firm in conducting the ongoing investigation. The criminal actors accessed Equifax Inc.’s systems through a consumer website application intended for use by U.S. consumers. Through this interface, the criminal actors obtained access to files containing personal information of certain Canadian consumers.
“We apologize to Canadian consumers who have been impacted by this incident,” said Lisa Nelson, President and General Manager, Equifax Canada. “We understand it has also been frustrating that Equifax Canada has been unable to provide clarity on who was impacted until the investigation is complete. Our focus now is on providing impacted consumers with the support they need.”
Equifax has been working with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) and will be sending notices via mail directly to all impacted consumers outlining the steps they should take. For impacted Canadians we will also be providing complimentary credit monitoring and identity theft protection for 12 months.
Although only a limited number of Canadians have been impacted, Equifax reminds Canadian consumers to be vigilant in reviewing their account statements and credit reports and that they immediately report any unauthorized activity to the financial institutions. We also recommend that they monitor their personal information.
Equifax is updating its website to provide information designated for Canadian consumers to understand the incident and the company’s response.
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