Almost six months after credit reporting firm Equifax announced one of the biggest data breaches in U.S. history, exposing the personal information of more than 145 million consumers, only one out of every two people cared enough to check to see if their credit was OK.
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According to a report published Monday by Creditcards.com, about 50% of U.S. adults hadn’t checked their credit scores or credit reports since the breach. What’s more, while nearly three in 10 of those polled said they had heard “a lot” about theEquifax hack, they still hadn’t taken a look at their credit.
“Frankly, that’s disturbing,” Matt Schulz, senior industry analyst for Creditcards.com said. “If this breach won’t get people to act, what will?”
Schulz said the most alarming aspect of the results is that 26% of adults ages 18 to 37, the millennials, said they had heard nothing about the Equifax breach, which is double the 13% of those ages 38 or older who said they had no clue. Additionally, a whopping 18% of U.S. adults said they had never checked their credit score or credit report –ever.
On the bright side, 34% of millennials carried out such a check within the past six months, more than any other generation.
“It's still troubling that they are also the least-informed generation about the breach, but it's clear that once millennials found out about the breach, they were willing to take action,” Schulz told Fox Business. “Now we just need to make sure more of them know about it.”
The reason for people’s lack of action, Schulzadded, is that they feel they have “more pressing things to do.” In the end, such an attitude could wind up backfiring on them.
“Americans need to understand that identity is a forever problem,” he said. “Once your information is out there, there's no way to put that toothpaste back in the tube, and people need to behave accordingly.”
The finance firm said the first step is reviewing your online bank and credit card statements once a week.