Equifax data hack affected 694000 United Kingdom customers

Richard Smith former chairman and CEO of Equifax doesn't get our sympathy

Richard Smith former chairman and CEO of Equifax doesn't get our sympathy

Equifax has admitted that nearly 700,000 United Kingdom consumers have had their personal details accessed following a cyber-attack, a figure far higher than previously thought.

Patricio Remon, Equifax's Europe chief, again apologised to anyone affected by the hacking.

The company said in a statement that 15.2 million records - some dating back to 2011 - were stolen in the data breach.

Within that figure Equifax confirmed that 693,665 United Kingdom customers could now be at risk of identity theft, which is nearly double the "fewer than 400,000" the company originally estimated after revealing the breach on September 7.

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The company had originally said that the data of United Kingdom consumers "fewer than 400,000" was compromised. The majority of affected individuals had their phone numbers accessed.

The company had initially said the hack affected 400,000 United Kingdom customers, which revealed names, dates of birth, and email addresses, and phone numbers, but that postal addresses and passwords weren't affected.

The information held by the American credit monitoring firm included partial credit card details, phone numbers and driving licence serial numbers.

The company will offer those customers Equifax Protect, an identity protection service, for free, as well as giving further guidance in the letters they send to consumers.

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"Let me take this opportunity to emphasise that protecting the data of our consumers and clients is always our top priority".

Equifax collects information about people and businesses around the world and provides credit ratings used for decisions regarding loans and other financial matters.

"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", he said.

United Kingdom customers can phone Equifax for advice on 0800 587 1584.

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