What is going on with Equifax?
On September 8 when I read about the HUGE data breach from Equifax, I about lost my mind. This is a major ordeal. 143 MILLION records obtained!!! What???
I pulled this next paragraph from the FTC but I think its pertinent: Here are the facts, according to Equifax. The breach lasted from mid-May through July. The hackers accessed people’s names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers. They also stole credit card numbers for about 209,000 people and dispute documents with personal identifying information for about 182,000 people. And they grabbed personal information of people in the UK and Canada too.
We hear about data breaches in the news so much these days. It starts to become just another news event that we are numb to. But can I tell you why a data breach shouldn't be "just another news event?"
With all the heartache and devastation going on in the world you might think this minors in comparison. I get it and I agree that a person's life is very valuable. When people are losing their homes and all their possessions, its heartbreaking to see. And there was nothing they could have done about it except watch. The evacuation orders come in so quickly that a person only has time to do so much.
Natural disasters occur outside of our control. They reek havoc on those in their path. They take whatever they want. A natural disaster can force a person or family to start over. It doesn't matter if the person's life savings went into his house and possessions, he is now going to have to go back to square one.
So why is this particular data breach so devastating? Let's break it down a little bit. The type of information that was obtained through the equity fax data breach included names, Social Security numbers, Date of birth, and addresses. The FTC reports, "If you have a credit report, there’s a good chance that you’re one of the 143 million American consumers whose sensitive personal information was exposed in a data breach at Equifax, one of the nation’s three major credit reporting agencies."
Why should you care that this information is out there? Let's break this down a little bit. Number one, if somebody wants to get into our country illegally, what are some ways they can do that? One of those ways is by purchasing a Social Security number on the dark web.
I hear so many times people saying, "I have nothing. Go ahead and take my identity."
For me it's very hard to hold in my emotions when I hear this. Knowing multiple people who have had their identity stolen over the years and gone through horrendous experiences trying to get it worked out, I know that the person saying this has no idea what kind of impact identity theft would have on him.
This is why I feel it important to talk about this at this point.
So what is it that a person can do with your Social Security number and all the other information that was taken in the Equifax data breach? The person can become you!
Just think about it! When you want to do something, get a job, start a business, get a loan, rent an apartment, etc. etc. etc., what information do you give on the application? Now let's say you default in paying any one of these examples. Who is held responsible for that payment?
So if somebody else is walking around using your identity to do these exact same things and defaults on payment, who is going to be responsible? Who's credit is going to be damaged? Who is the IRS going to come after?
You are the person who owns that Social Security number. You are the person who will be held responsible for someone else's actions.
Of course, you are going to have to prove this is not you.
Let's compare this to a police officer who pulls you over for a minor traffic violation. When the officer runs your license and finds out there's a warrant out for your arrest how do you think he will respond when you say, "It wasn't me. Officer, you have the wrong person. I am a good person!"
Just like that officer who gets told a bunch of lines on a daily basis, the IRS is not going to believe you. You are going to have to go through a painstaking process to prove your innocence.
I have known people who have spent a year or more to repair the damages done by an identity thief. John Sileo is one who I have met. His story is just devastating. The thief destroyed his family business, caused him to pay $300,000 back to clients who had been stolen from, and put him into a severe state of depression. He fought for two years to stay out of jail and repair his good name.
Look at his consequences. As with a natural disaster, the depth of destruction from identity theft can be overwhelming.
This example is not uncommon. These things happen and unfortunately they are just happening more and more.
We all know it can happen to us. We all know our information is out there thanks to the multiple data breaches. What you have to ask yourself is what kind of consequences do you want to deal with. Do you want to have to put the pieces back together by yourself or do you want professional help?
If this post hit home for you, you might be interested in learning more about ways to monitor your identity and also have access to licensed private investigators who will go to work on your behalf when someone takes your identity and uses it. Please click this link to find out more information: www.AnyoneCanBeYou.com
If you have any personal stories on an identity theft situation that happened, I would love to have you share them. Not everyone understands just how bad it can be. There are still folks out there that believe its not a big deal or it will never happen to them.
You can also find out more information from the FTC by clicking this link: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2017/09/equifax-data-breach-what-do
Thank you for reading!! Please share this with your friends and family so they can also be educated.