A cybersecurity incident potentially impacted 143 million U.S. consumers, Equifax announced on Thursday.
Equifax said that criminals exploited a U.S. website application vulnerability to gain access to certain files, based on the company's investigation. Equifax said the unauthorized access occurred from mid-May through July 2017.
The information accessed primarily includes names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver's license numbers and credit card numbers.
Equifax claimed it discovered the unauthorized access on July 29, and acted immediately to stop the intrusion.
"This is clearly a disappointing event for our company, and one that strikes at the heart of who we are and what we do. I apologize to consumers and our business customers for the concern and frustration this causes," said Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Richard F. Smith. "We pride ourselves on being a leader in managing and protecting data, and we are conducting a thorough review of our overall security operations. We also are focused on consumer protection and have developed a comprehensive portfolio of services to support all U.S. consumers, regardless of whether they were impacted by this incident."
Equifax said it recommends that consumers with questions visit www.equifaxsecurity2017.comor contact a dedicated call center at 866-447-7559, which the company set up to assist consumers. The call center is open from 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. ET daily.