The Equifax hack, which likely affected all U.S. adults, is uniquely damaging to victims and, consequently, very valuable for thieves on the black market.
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“A stolen credit card alone is worth $1 in the black market,” Justin Lie, CEO of global online fraud management company CashShield, told FOX Business. “This number multiplies 5x with each added associated [piece of] information to that credit card number.”
That means a stolen credit card with an address would be worth $5; the addition of an email address would bump that value up to $25. Hackers stand to profit substantially off of the Equifax case because unlike a normal hack, which generally compromises a single piece of personal data per individual, the Equifax hack gave thieves access to an entire correlated set of data points for each victim.
“With more information, hackers can create a fuller profile of an individual, allowing them to make fraudulent purchases online, create multiple bank accounts or even steal one's tax refund,” Lie said.
More than 143 million people were affected by the breach, which was announced by the credit reporting firm on Thursday. The breach occurred between May and July, and hackers potentially accessed information including Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and driver’s license numbers – in addition to credit card numbers and other personal information.
As previously reported by FOX Business, simply freezing your credit is not enough to protect yourself in this circumstance. Lie recommends victims reset passwords for email addresses and social media accounts, as well as monitor credit card bills and bank statements.