Major spike in credit card fraud cases following Equifax data breach

Credit card fraud in the US saw a 15% jump in the US after hackers got their hands on credit card details of over 209,000 citizens after breaching credit rating agency Equifax' databases.

Equifax took well over a month to identify and stop a massive data breach that compromised live credit card details of US citizens.

Last week, credit rating agency Equifax announced that it had suffered a major data breach that compromised details of 143 million customers, including credit card details of over 209,000 citizens.

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As per Equifax' estimates, credit card details of 209,000 US citizens and personal identifying information for approximately 182,000 U.S. consumers were also accessed by hackers following the breach. Limited personal information of several British and Canadian citizens was also accessed by the hackers who have not been identified so far.

Liron Damri, co-founder of fraud prevention service Forter, told the New York Post that following the Equifax data breach, there was a sudden spike in instances of credit card fraud in the United States. He added that credit card details stolen by hackers from Equifax' databases could be misused well into next year.

“We saw a 15 percent increase in the overall fraud attempts in our system in August, which is an unusual time of year to see such a spike," said Damri.

“Once the hackers knew they were exposed they could have dumped the financial information to monetize it,” he added.

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After Equifax announced that it had suffered a massive data breach, Lee Munson - Security Researcher at Comparitech.com, feared that the scale of the breach would have far-reaching consequences for millions of the agency's consumers.

'That the target of this breach is a company that deals in such sensitive information, including credit card numbers and bank account details, highlights the value of personal and financial data to those who would steal it.

'Anyone potentially affected by the breach has some work to do now. While it is not known whether card data was encrypted or not, I suspect it is likely that personal information was easily accessible,' he said.

READ MORE: Many customers not informed by Ffrees following large-scale data breach

Out of Equifax' hundreds of millions of consumers, over 44 million are British nationals but it is not known how many have been affected by the breach. The Information Commissioner's Office is now working with the agency to obtain more information about how much data was impacted by the breach.

British citizens whose personal and financial data is stored by Equifax need to visit www.equifaxsecurity2017.com to ensure their credit file monitoring and identity theft protection. However, to ensure that they are not affected anymore, they must change their passwords across all accounts, stop using the same passwords for different accounts- personal or financial, and should regularly check bank account statements and credit reports for abnormal or unauthorised activity.