Equifax data breach continues to grow

This July 21, 2012, photo shows Equifax Inc., offices in Atlanta. Credit monitoring company Equifax says a breach exposed social security numbers and other data from about 143 million Americans. The Atlanta-based company said Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017, that "criminals" exploited a U.S. website application to access files between mid-May and July of this year. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart)

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The Equifax data breach is growing.

This week, we learned an additional 2.5 million people joined the more than 143 million who Equifax says have been impacted.

The former CEO of Equifax spent several days testifying before Congress where he apologized for the breach. But apologies or not, that data is out there.

Much of that data has found its way to what’s known as the dark web, which can only be accessed using special software.

That software allows users and website operators to remain anonymous and untraceable — while they buy and sell your data.

Jaylen Milbourne, of Raleigh knows about the dark web.

“It’s something you don’t want to be on because it’s dangerous,” Milbourne said.

But, it’s also a treasure trove for hackers where information becomes valuable currency. And what’s that info worth?

It depends.

Keeper Security, Inc. estimates that your unique and unchangeable social security number can sell for less than a dollar on the dark web. Driver’s license information goes for $20, and the biggest prize, complete medical records, can go for more than $1,000.

Cyber-security expert Serhat Atli says, “If I have somebody’s social security number, address etc. I can obtain all of those documents with the info that was leaked from Equifax.”

Matt Donegan is a local business owner who is worried about the data breach. “I’m frightened,” he says. “I’m scared to death that my finances could be completely wiped out.”

Experts say, once someone has created a clone of you it’s really hard to undo that.

“It’s not easy for you to prove that you are you, if there’s another you,” says Atli.

If you’ve been a victim of identity theft, The Federal Trade Commission has a comprehensive recovery guide.

It includes information about what to do right away, sample letters to inform creditors your identity has been stolen, and much more.

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