CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey's office says more than 730,000 West Virginia consumers could be impacted by a massive data breach targeting Equifax Inc., one of the nation’s three major credit bureau monitoring agencies.
Equifax reports hackers exploited a website application vulnerability and gained access to files potentially impacting 143 million consumers nationwide. The company has advised 730,119 of those reside in West Virginia.
“The Equifax breach poses a significant threat to nearly half of our state’s population,” Morrisey said in a statement. “Every West Virginia consumer must be aware of this incident and take the necessary steps to protect their finances. Those impacted also should monitor further developments.”
Equifax reports hackers primarily accessed names, Social Security numbers, birth dates and addresses. In other instances, hackers also may have gained access to driver’s license numbers, credit card numbers and dispute documents containing personal identifying information.
The chance that hackers now possess such information increases threat of identity theft for those impacted.
The Attorney General urges consumers to watch their bank and credit card accounts for unauthorized charges, monitor credit reports, strengthen passwords where necessary and be extra cautious with any unsolicited email, phone call or other attempt to gain your personal information.
Equifax established a website, https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com, to notify consumers and provide guidance on ways to protect themselves against potential misuse of the hacked information.
The Attorney General urges anyone using the Equifax website only to do so on a secured computer and make sure they use the correct website, ensuring it includes the "s" in "https:" for security with no changes to the spelling or domain.
The company also reports it is offering one year of credit file monitoring and identity theft protection for all U.S. consumers, whether or not the consumers are among those impacted by this breach. It includes credit monitoring for Equifax, Experian and TransUnion; copies of and the ability to lock Equifax credit reports; identity theft insurance and online scanning for Social Security numbers.
Anyone with questions or believe they are a victim of the Equifax data breach, can call the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-368-8808, the Eastern Panhandle Consumer Protection Office in Martinsburg at 304-267-0239 or visit the office online at www.wvago.gov.