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Equifax-Headquarters A logo sign outside of the headquarters of the consumer credit rating firm Equifax in Atlanta, Georgia on September 1, 2012. The company revealed a data breach that could have comprised the personal information of up to 143 million people.

The Equifax data breach has been unlike any other. Its victims did not voluntarily provide their personal information to the company, nor did they have the ability to opt out. Big banks, credit card companies and other businesses funnel stockpiles of data on consumers’ financial transactions to credit reporting firms to create profiles that determine consumer creditworthiness. So, unless you don’t have a credit card, cellphone or mortgage, you are almost certainly in the databases of the big three credit reporting agencies.

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