One of the nation’s three major credit reporting agencies, Equifax, exposed 143 million American’s sensitive and personal information in a data breach. The breach lasted from mid-May through July. The hackers accessed people’s names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers. They also stole credit card numbers for about 209,000 people and dispute documents with personal identifying information for about 182,000 people. And they grabbed personal information of people in the UK and Canada too.
Social Security numbers were first handed out in 1936 as a way to keep track of earnings history. They were not meant to be a source of identification. It used to say that right on the Social Security cards. To date, more than 450,000,000 nine-digit combinations have been issued; there are about 1 billion combinations, so no need as of yet for any to be recycled. But security breaches are becoming more and more popular providing hackers with the ability to leave you swimming in authorized purchases, your identity and personal information stolen.
There are some important ways that you can protect yourself from these kinds of data breaches.
- Consider placing a credit freeze on your files if you think you’ve been a victim.
- Monitor your existing credit card and bank accounts closely.
- Consider placing fraud alerts on your files.
- File your taxes early, before a scammer can.
- Recycle your electronic devices properly with a certified business.
AccuShred firmly believes that total physical destruction is the only fail-safe method of destroying data stored on hard drives, disks and other storage devices. That is why we shred and recycle each and every hard drive that we receive. We NEVER sell intact hard drives – period. Protect yourself from data breaches by taking the extra steps to destroying your data.