Equifax to notify167,431 Brits that their phone numbers were accessed by hackers last year

Equifax is writing to 167,431 British customers to inform them that their phone numbers, which were publicly available in the Phone Book, were accessed by hackers as well last year.

Equifax had previously confirmed that the data breach had compromised names, phone numbers, driving license numbers and other details of 693,665 UK consumers.

In September last year, U.S. credit rating agency Equifax revealed that it had suffered a major data breach that compromised details of millions of customers, including credit card details of over 209,000 citizens.

Out of 44 million British nationals whose personal and financial data were stored by Equifax, the company then announced that nearly 400,000 were affected. Even though physical addresses, passwords and financial data of the 400,000 Brits were secure, hackers were able to access their names, dates of birth, email addresses, and telephone numbers.

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However, Equifax revised the figure in October, announcing that the breach had in fact compromised phone numbers of 637,430 Britons, driving license numbers of 29,188 Britons, Equifax usernames, passwords, and partial credit card details of 14,961 Britons, and email addresses of 12,086 Britons.

Three months on, Equifax has announced that the breach may have compromised telephone numbers of a further 167,431 British customers as well. These phone numbers were already publicly available in the Phone Book before they were accessed by the hackers. As such, these customers have not been put at any further risk.  Nevertheless, the company is now sending letters to these customers to warn them that their data could be at risk of fraud from hackers who accessed such details last year.

The company added that it has already written letters to British customers whose e-mail addresses, Equifax membership details, and driving license numbers were accessed by hackers. Those whose phone numbers were accessed will also be contacted by the company before the end of this month. If you're among the affected individuals and have received a letter from Equifax regarding the breach, you can verify the details by calling Equifax on 0800 587 1584.

British citizens who had their phone numbers accessed are being offered a leading identity monitoring service for free and those who had other personal details accessed are being offered Equifax Protect, an identity protection service which monitors personal data, for free.