SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Credit monitoring company Equifax has been hit by a high-tech heist that exposed the social security numbers and other data of about 143 million Americans. Now those people have to worry about the threat of having their identities stolen.

The Atlanta-based company said Thursday that “criminals” exploited a U.S. website application to access files between mid-May and July of this year.

The theft obtained consumers’ names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some cases, driver’s license numbers. Such sensitive information can be enough for crooks to hijack the identities of people whose credentials were stolen through no fault of their own, potentially wreaking havoc on the victims’ lives.

Equifax discovered the hack July 29, but waited until Thursday to warn consumers. The Atlanta-based company has set up a special website, https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/ , where people can check to see if their personal information may have been stolen. Consumers can also call 866-447-7559 for more information.

Besides all the personal information that was stolen in its breach, Equifax said the credit card numbers for about 209,000 U.S. consumers were also taken.

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