Millions of Americans Personal Information Compromised

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – West Virginia’s attorney general says more than 730,000 consumers in the state could be affected by the data breach at the credit reporting company Equifax.

Atlanta-based Equifax says “criminals” exploited a U.S. website application to access the files of 143 million Americans between mid-May and July of this year

Personal data that could be used to commit identity theft – Social Security numbers, birthdates, address histories, legal names – was obtained.

Attorney General Patrick Morrisey says Equifax has advised that 730,119 West Virginians’ information was exposed.

He says consumers should watch their bank and credit card accounts for unauthorized charges, monitor credit reports, strengthen passwords where needed and be cautious with any unsolicited emails, calls or other attempts to gain further personal information.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s office says it hasn’t been advised by the company on the number of Ohioans whose information could be exposed.

Equifax established a website to notify consumers on whether or not their information was part of the breach. Customers can also call 866-447-7559 for more information on the breach.  The company is offering free credit monitoring for consumers for one year. You have until Nov. 21st to enroll.

But at least one security expert says the website created by the company to help customers raises its own security questions.

Georgia Weidman, the founder and chief technology officer for security firm Shevirah, says the website Equifax created looks like the kind of website set up by attackers to trick people into disclosing information.

Weidman says it’s teaching people “entirely the wrong things about using the internet securely.”

Weidman says she’s troubled by Equifax’s approach to security generally, including reports that it didn’t respond to basic scripting bugs it was warned about last year.