Well, this is a little different from my usual sarcastic ranting about current events or tongue-in-cheek reflections on life. In fact, it’s more of a public service announcement. If you’ve been hanging out on the Weather Channel lately watching the second of three powerful hurricanes slam into the southern US, you might have missed this: Equifax, one of the three major credit reporting agencies, had a major data breach this week. Let me reiterate: MAJOR. The breach involves the possible exposure of the personal, private data of 143 million Americans, as well as a few lucky folks in the UK and Canada. For those of you who can’t do the math yourselves, 143 million is about 40% of the US population! In other words, this means you.
I mean, think about it—now some crafty hackers have almost as much private information about Americans as, say, the NSA and the CIA <insert eye-roll>. While Equifax is rolling around writhing on the ground in agony at their own stupidity, they are offering us, their hapless victims, the favor of enrollment in free identity theft protection (assuming that company doesn’t further breach our privacy).
They have set up a website specifically to deal with their screw-up: EquifaxSecurity2017.com. I recommend everyone go there, read the main pages, and then put your info into the “Potential Impact” tab to see if you are one of the lucky ones who was likely breached. So far, my husband, both of my parents, one of my two daughters, my mother-in-law, and I were all yeses. My father-in-law, who passed away 18 months ago, managed to escape the hacker’s clutches. I guess being dead makes your credit profile less attractive.
If you get a yes, and even if you don’t, you can proceed to sign up for the free credit monitoring and ID theft protection. Right now, all they are giving out are dates when you can sign up, presumably so we don’t all overwhelm the credit monitoring company at once. We got in early, all receiving dates in the next few days. I’m not sure if the dates will get progressively further out, or if it’s all alphabetical or what, but I recommend going over there sooner rather than later and getting your info in. It would at least give you a heads-up and some standing to sue if your identity is stolen over the next year or two. Yay! </snark off>
So there you have it: Hillary Clinton is no longer the unquestioned Queen of Cyber Insecurity. Equifax just stole the crown. Now let’s hope nobody steals our identities…