The Federal Trade Commission issued a warning on Sept. 14 to consumers to be on the alert for phishing scams related to the Equifax breach.

The FTC said people might call asking to verify consumers’ account information due to the Equifax hack.

“Stop. Don’t tell them anything,” the FTC said in a statement. “They’re not from Equifax. It’s a scam. Equifax will not call you out of the blue.”

This is just one example of a scam that consumers might experience. The FTC told consumers not to tell callers any personal information, not to trust caller ID, and if consumers receive a robocall, hang up. The FTC has created a portal for consumers to report if they’ve received scam phone calls.

The Equifax breach affected about 143 million U.S. customers. According to the Equifax announcement, the information involved includes names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers.

Equifax discovered the breach on July 29, and announced it to the public Sept. 7. Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., noted in his letter to the House Judiciary Committee that it was “disturbing” that Equifax took six weeks to inform users that their data had been breached.

Congress has a strong role to play in preventing such attacks on our financial and IT infrastructure, and must hold those entrusted with our most sensitive data to account,” Lieu wrote.

The company has set up a website for consumers to figure out if their information has been compromised and sign up for credit monitoring.

“This is clearly a disappointing event for our company, and one that strikes at the heart of who we are and what we do,” said Equifax Chairman and CEO Richard F. Smith. “I apologize to consumers and our business customers for the concern and frustration this causes. We pride ourselves on being a leader in managing and protecting data, and we are conducting a thorough review of our overall security operations. We also are focused on consumer protection and have developed a comprehensive portfolio of services to support all U.S. consumers, regardless of whether they were impacted by this incident.”

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Morgan Lynch
Morgan Lynch
Morgan Lynch is a Staff Reporter for MeriTalk covering Federal IT and K-12 Education.