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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Equifax is one of the three credit monitoring services used to monitor your credit and a credit activity. But now the very folks who are supposed to be watching your credit have in fact been hacked themselves.

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Karen Paullet is a cyber security expert from Robert Morris University.

“We entrust these companies when we purchase, when we go to the bank, etc., to actually secure our data; and the bottom line is, we don’t know what is happening,” said Paullet.

Chris McConville, owns Cure Your Score, a credit education service.

“I would say any of the credit reporting agencies; I would consider it the mother-load of data for someone who wants your data,” he says.

Equifax said the breach affected approximately 143 million people. That means social security numbers, addresses, birthdays and even your credit card numbers.

Christine D’Antonio’s Report:

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In addition, hackers got more detailed information from consumers who were already challenging information on their credit reports, said McConville.

“The procedures of disputing, you have to include certain what they call identifiers, and the identifiers are very personal information such as your Social Security card, your driver’s license, your pay stub, bank statements and tax returns, utility bills, so a lot a lot of information,” he said.

The company said the incidents started in May of this year and continued until mid-July. But that’s when the company became aware it had been breached.

Experts say a breach like this takes time.

“Imagine, every day when you left work somebody being in your house, going through your drawers, and then leaving,” said Paullet. “And then they do this for four or five or six months, and by the time the four, five or six months are over, they’ve taken everything that they need.”

Equifax has set up a website for anyone who thinks they may have been a victim in this case, but you should also take the time to stay on top of your information.

“That’s not going to stop somebody still from taking data from a company, but sat least if it’s taken and then somebody tries to do something with it, you are alerted,” Paullet said.

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More information can be found on the Equifax website here:

Lynne Hayes-Freeland