Equifax breach: Why only 61M Americans checked their credit afterwards

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Nearly a month after credit reporting firm Equifax Inc. caused quite a panic to approximately 145 million Americans—almost half of the U.S. population—after revealing their personal data may been compromised by hackers—a new report released Wednesday suggests only 61 million Americans cared enough to check if they were victim.

According to a new survey released by Creditcard.com, just over a quarter of the adult population checked their credit score or credit report in the first two weeks after Equifax reported its massive data breach. However, the most alarming part of the report says senior analyst Matt Schulz, is that 71 million adults say they haven’t even heard about the data leak yet.

“It was surprising—and disturbing—that 1 in 3 American adults knew absolutely nothing about the breach. This breach is so huge that almost anyone could be impacted, but you can't take action against something if you have no idea that it happened,” Schulz told FOX Business.

Younger millennials (18-26), in particular, were the most clueless when it came to knowledge of the incident; half of them say they were completely unaware of it. Yet, older millennials (27-36), were reportedly the savviest about reviewing their credit information in a timely fashion. Nearly 33% of them said they checked their credit within the first two weeks after the news broke about the breach on Sept. 7.

Overall, three in five adults say they have inspected their credit history within the past year and one in five have never done so.

“We all have to-do lists that are a mile long, and keeping on top of our credit tends to be way down the list of priorities, even in the wake of a massive breach. Many people think they probably won't be affected so they don't do anything. That's not wise, nor is it realistic,” Schulz said.

Unfortunately, Schulz adds that many people will often learn the importance of checking your credit scores the hard way when it’s too late.

“It's especially important for elderly folks or younger people who might be intimidated by credit for one reason or another. It can also help if people understand that technology can make it easier to keep up to speed on your credit. Many credit card issuers offers apps or website tools to help you understand your credit.”