Many consumers have long felt powerless about their credit scores, especially when it comes to fixing errors in their credit history. But that sense of powerless pales in comparison to what many are feeling today following the news that hackers gained access to the sensitive personal information of many Americans kept by the credit reporting agency Equifax. No, we’re not talking about access to just gas card account numbers. This involved the crown jewels of sensitive personal data — home addresses, birth dates and Social Security numbers, the critical data that is needed to open accounts, change passwords and withdraw funds. And we are not talking about some of the past data breaches that were measured in the hundreds of thousands or even the Verizon breach announced earlier this year that could have involved up to 14 million people. This hacking involved up to 143 million Americans — nearly half the adult population of the United States.
So given all of that, one would think that Equifax would have been quick to notify the public once the data breach was known. Not so. The intrusion began in May and reportedly continued until Equifax discovered it in late July. So why are we not finding out about it until now? Eqiufax is not saying. Consumers are also reportedly having a hard time finding out the extent to which their personal information has been compromised. We guess we will all have to wait until it shows up on our credit scores.