SPRINGFIELD — Speaking from experience, a member of the Better Business Bureau says nobody is safe from the breach.
Earlier this week, it was discovered that last September’s Equifax hack is worse than originally thought.
The original Equifax data breach was thought to have affected about 142 million people.
Now it is reported that an additional 2.4 million people are victims of that hack.
One victim in Springfield happens to be a member of an organization dedicated to keeping peoples information safe.
“Given what I do as the Regional Director of the Better Business Bureau, it just goes to show no matter what you do and who you are, it could happen to you,” says Stephanie Garland.
As a member of the BBB, Garland deals with people who are victims of scams and hacks regularly. But this time, she was on the receiving end. It only takes a couple minutes to find out if you are too.
“I wanted to see if I was part of it, so I went to Equifax, I typed in my last name, typed in the last six digits of my social, and I found out that I am one of the victims,” Garland says.
It can happen to anyone, several things are at risk if you are caught up in the data breach.
“Your partial drivers license is at risk, you also have your social security number, your identity is at risk, it could be stolen. They could take out mortgages in your name as well as car loans. They could do a lot of damage with your information, ” says Garland.
Luckily, there is a way to make sure that damage is kept to a minimum. To do so, you’ll want to visit the Equifax website.
“They have something called lock and freeze, so I went ahead and froze my account. Then I am also calling Experian, Transunion, and Equifax to make sure I can get my account locked,” says Garland.
To access those credit organizations, Garland says there is one stop you can make to find them all.
“You can go to annualcreditreport.com, that is where you can get those three credit companies, and you can see what is happening. We ask that you report it to our BBB scam tracker so we can see how many people are impacted by it,” Garland explains.
At this point, over 145 million have been affected, and BBB is advising everyone to see if they are part of it.
“If they haven’t been impacted they are a very small percentage of the population right now. So kudos to them, they somehow managed to luck into it which is great,” Garland says.
Garland says that many people’s tax returns could also be at risk for the hackers if they are part of this breach. BBB’s advice is to go ahead and file those taxes early, and to keep an eye on your account activity every few days, if not every day.