It’s happened before with Best Buy, Sony, and other companies, but no credit factoring agency has ever been responsible for the leaking of private consumer information on a widespread basis. It was recently revealed that Equifax, one of the U.S.’s biggest credit reporting companies, had been hacked weeks before the public was made aware. For people who have been working on their credit so that they can buy a house or go on a vacation, the ramifications are boundless. Finance majors working on an online finance masters degree at Northeastern University have been advised to see if they have been impacted by the data breach, as credit is a big part of the student loan application process. In total, more than 140 million people had their vital information hacked by Equifax’s unsecured websites. Even if you aren’t in that group, this event is going to make credit applications, monitoring, and checking processes a lot different than before.
Your Friends and Family Are Going To Be Victims
You can find out within a moment or two if your personal information was inadvertently leaked by Equifax. Whether or not you are a victim, your coworkers, friends, relatives, and neighbors probably will have their lives impacted in some way. The thing about data breaches is that their negative consequences aren’t always felt right away. If someone has stolen your best friend’s social security number and banking information, he or she might not know until their mortgage payment fails to go through. The same thing can happen when going to finance a car or even use a credit card.
Other Credit Companies Are Going to Beef Up Their Security
Consumers are entitled to check their credit reports for free once a year online provided they are able to answer a few simple security questions. The problem with that method is that hackers could likely answer those questions due to the Equifax data breach. Online finance degree holders think that credit companies may need to switch up the routine credit monitoring and checking safety protocols they use to confirm identity. You may be asked to call a phone number and confirm your identity before being allowed to order your credit report because so much identifying information is available via each individual credit reporting company.
Getting New Credit Products Is Going to Take Longer
Instant credit decisions are expected to be put on hold, at least for those directly impacted by the Equifax breach. It’s very convenient to find out if you have been approved for a loan that will enable you to walk out of a department store with that new washer and dryer for your home, but what happens if your identity has been stolen? Due to the fact that more than one-third of all U.S. residents have been accidentally put at risk by Equifax, you can forget about getting an instant decision on major credit purchases until the system is fixed.
You might have your credit card declined when going to buy an expensive item in the future if your credit card company deems your behavior out of the norm. Of course, a phone call can get everything squared away, but this Equifax data breach is a huge deal in the world of credit and finance. Hopefully, this is the last time that the private and personal information of consumers is put at risk by a company that should truly know better.