Equifax has confirmed that 8,000 Canadians may have had their personal information – names, addresses, and Social Insurance Numbers – or credit card information compromised in a breach by hackers earlier this year. An outside cybersecurity firm completed the forensic analysis to determine how many people were affected.
We received an email from the President of Equifax Canada stating that they are grouping the consumers by the type of data that was exposed – for example, everyone whose SIN was accessed by the hackers – and beginning to mail out notices to those people. If you were affected, the letter you receive will tell you what information was compromised and how to sign up for free credit monitoring and identity theft protection. Equifax has not said when the mailing will be complete, although they have promised to provide an update when it's done.
Timeline of Events
In early September, Equifax announced the data breach, with hackers accessing consumer data from Canada, the US and the UK between May and July 2017. Initial estimates were 100,000 Canadians and 143 million Americans whose personal information had been compromised due to a software vulnerability the hackers exploited. Equifax began working with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada in September to deal specifically with people who were affected here.
In early October, Equifax took one of their consumer web pages offline due to a potential adware attack. The problem turned out to be malicious code from a vendor that has since been removed.
What You Should Do Now
There's unfortunately not much you can do to keep your information out of databases. Equifax collects consumer data for reporting purposes – you're probably most familiar with them for credit scores. However, it's always important to monitor your own credit and you should pay particular attention after your personal information may have been compromised. You will want to:
- Monitor your credit cards and bank accounts for unauthorized transactions.
- Report any signs of crime or theft to your local police; report scams or frauds to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
- Tell your bank and credit card companies if you believe you're a target of identity theft.
Remember that you can only ask for a replacement SIN from the government if you can prove that it has been used for fraud.
Keep Yourself Cyber Safe in the Future
What you can control is how you make your personal information available online. Some good guidelines to follow:
- Only provide information online – including logins and passwords - to people or sites you are familiar with and trust.
- Check the "from" email address on messages that request your personal info; if the address doesn't match the sender or the site you are expecting, you might not want to share your details with them.
- When an email asks you to log in to a site, go directly to that site in your web browser instead of clicking on the link in the message; that way you know for sure what site is getting your information.
Your identity is the key to any legal or financial transaction, especially when it comes to your home! The Auxilium Team takes your privacy seriously, and uses secure means to collect and store your information. If you're ready to set up an appointment with one of our planners, contact us today: call Toll-Free 1-855-590-6520 or visit us at 307 Goldstream Avenue during regular business hours. We can also arrange an appointment evenings or weekends to work with you.
Auxilium Mortgage Corporation is based in Victoria, BC and works with clients locally and across Canada. The Auxilium team has over 100 years of combined financial experience and access to dozens of lenders to help you meet your goals.