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More than 15 million people affected by Equifax data breach

More UK cyber-victims than originally estimated

Some 15.2 million UK client records were compromised in the cyber-attack on Equifax last month.

The credit reporting agency revealed yesterday that more than 690,000 UK consumers are likely to have had sensitive details stolen. These include email addresses, passwords, driving license numbers, phone numbers and partial credit card details.

A further 14.5 million of the potentially compromised records may contain the name and date of birth of certain UK consumers.

Equifax had previously estimated that less than 400,000 UK consumers were likely to have had sensitive information stolen.

Information accessed Number of UK cyber-victims
Email address 12,086
Equifax.co.uk membership details – such as
username, password, secret questions and
answers and partial credit card details
14,961
Driving license number 29,188
Phone number 637,430
TOTAL 693,665

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What to do if you’ve been affected

If you’ve ever been subjected to a credit check, Equifax may have some of your personal data – even if you’ve not directly signed up to one of its services. The company will write to each of the 693,665 consumers who are most at risk of cyber fraud with tips on how to protect themselves. You can order an Equifax credit report for free if you want to check that the company has the correct contact information for you.

It will offer free access to its identity protection service, Equifax Protect, to those who had their email addresses, driving license number or online membership details compromised. Products and services from third party organisations will also be offered at no cost.

Consumers who had a phone number accessed will be offered a leading identity monitoring service for free. We’ve listed some extra steps you can take to protect yourself below.

Patricio Remon, Equifax Ltd UK president for Europe, said: ‘It has been regrettable that we have not been able to contact consumers who may have been impacted until now, but it would not have been appropriate for us to do so until the full facts of this complex attack were known, and the full forensics investigation was completed.’

‘I urge anyone who receives a letter from Equifax to take advantage of the remedial services being offered to help mitigate against any risk, or to contact us should you have any questions.’

Which? tips for surviving a data breach

If you believe you’ve been a victim of a data breach, take the following steps to protect yourself:

  • Contact your mortgage, current account and credit card providers to make them aware of the potential breach.
  • Change your passwords on any online accounts holding sensitive information.
  • Check your credit card statements and credit reports for unusual or unauthorised activity. Report any discrepancies to the provider immediately.
  • Apply for protective registration from CIFAS – the Fraud Prevention Service. This will trigger additional checks any time someone tries to open a financial product in your name.
  • Be extra-vigilant against phishing messages. Our consumer rights guide explains how to spot a scam message.
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