Equifax – Consumer Information

in Money Affairs

Credit report company, Equifax, has recently warned that up to 400,000 UK consumers may have had their personal details stolen as part of a massive global data breach.

Equifax is the second biggest credit reference agency in the UK, after Experian. Like other such agencies, it holds personal information which prospective lenders use to assess whether you can successfully apply for a credit card, loan, mortgage, etc.

This data comes from four main sources – the publicly-available electoral roll, court records, previous credit searches and account data shared by banks, building societies, utility companies and other organisations.

Equifax says criminals accessed their files between May and July 2017. It says it found out about the hack on 29 July and immediately stopped any further intrusion. Equifax says it will proactively contact affected customers in writing to offer them a free comprehensive identity protection service. This will allow them to monitor their personal data, including their credit information and be alerted to any potential signs of fraudulent activity.

The Information Commissioner's Office is working with Equifax to establish full details of the breach. They recommend if any consumer’s financial details appear to have been compromised, they should immediately notify their bank or card company. If anyone thinks they may have been a victim of a cyber crime they should contact Action Fraud at: http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud or on: 0300 123 2040.

In addition, The Consumer Council, Police Service of Northern Ireland and Trading Standards Service have joint scams leaflet ‘Know the signs... stop the crime’, to help raise awareness of the different types of scams, things to look out for and most importantly how to report a scam.To download a copy of the ‘Know the signs, stop the crime’ scams leaflet visit www.consumercouncil.org.uk or call 0800 121 6022 for a free copy.

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