Equifax does 180 turn on controversial program after massive data breach

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NEW YORK -- Credit reporting firm Equifax announced last week that nearly half of the US population could be impacted by a data breach incident that happened earlier this year. The information obtained in the breach includes names, social security numbers, birth dates, address, and some driver's license numbers.

Equifax said 143 million consumers could be impacted.  The company discovered the breach on July 29 and unauthorized access started in mid-May.

As it dealt with customer concerns, Equifax promoted a "check potential impact" tool on their website where users could see if their information was compromised. However, the tool does not appear to be displaying whether your personal information was included in the data breach and is only providing information about their TrustedID program.

Equifax launched its security site last week for free credit monitoring. It included something called a 'forced arbitration clause' in its terms of service.

Basically that would have meant all users who signed up would have waived the right to sue in court and instead have to settle through private arbitration. It also prevented users from joining together for a class action lawsuit. After much public backlash, Equifax relented and says enrolling for credit monitoring won't waive any right to legal action.

In addition to the breach, credit card numbers for approximately 209,000 consumers "and certain dispute documents, which included personal identifying information, for approximately 182,000 consumers" were accessed during the incident.

Consumers who want more information about the incident should visit: equifaxsecurity2017.com.