CHARLESTON —West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is warning the public of a scam in which callers impersonate Equifax employees, calling and seeking more personal information in the wake of last week’s massive data breach potentially affecting more than 730,000 West Virginia consumers.
A new batch of scammers are using the data breach to victimize consumers a second time. They use false telephone numbers, impersonate Equifax representatives and claim to be verifying account information. The callers are after more personal identifiable information from consumers who are eager to learn whether or not they were victims of the breach.
“Right now, consumers are anxious and want to make sure their credit and banking information is secure,” Morrisey said. “However, scammers use this fear to prey on consumers and potentially obtain even more sensitive information.”
More than 730,000 West Virginia consumers could be impacted by a data breach targeting Equifax, one of the nation’s three major credit bureau monitoring agencies. Equifax reported hackers exploited a website application vulnerability and gained access to files potentially impacting 143 million consumers nationwide.
Equifax does not make unsolicited calls to consumers. The Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division warns any call claiming to represent the company is likely a scam and consumers should exercise extreme caution.
The initial Equifax data breach 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, thus increasing the risk of identity theft for those impacted.
Anyone with questions or needing more information about the Equifax data breach or the related impostor scam 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.