"Equifax has established that it is likely to need to contact fewer than 400,000 UK consumers in order to offer them appropriate advice and a range of services to help safeguard and reassure them."
Over the weekend, Equifax confirmed that it had identified a data breach in which the personal information of up to 400,000 UK customers has potentially been accessed.
Although UK systems were not affected, US parent company Equifax Inc. announced that a file containing UK consumer information "may potentially have been accessed" due to a process failure, corrected in 2016, which led to a limited amount of UK data being stored in the US between 2011 and 2016.
Shortly after the announcement, Equifax’s CIO & CSO stepped down.
Equifax says the information accessed is restricted to name, date of birth, email address and a telephone number and does not include any residential address information, password information or financial data.
The investigation is ongoing and Equifax says it is currently working with the FCA and Information Commissioner’s Office.
In a statement, Equifax said: "Having concluded the initial assessment Equifax has established that it is likely to need to contact fewer than 400,000 UK consumers in order to offer them appropriate advice and a range of services to help safeguard and reassure them.
"Due to the nature of the information Equifax believes identity takeover is unlikely for the UK consumers who had their data potentially accessed in this incident. It is however important that Equifax does all that it can to provide reassurance and protection to these people and it will be proactively contacting impacted customers in writing to offer them a free comprehensive identity protection service which will allow them to monitor their personal data, including their credit information and be alerted to any potential signs of fraudulent activity.
"The service will also incorporate web and social media monitoring alerting the consumer to any publically available information about them. Equifax will also provide links to services provided by other UK regulated organisations which these consumers may prefer to take-up in addition to or instead of the free services provided by Equifax."
Patricio Remon, President at Equifax Ltd. said: “We apologise for this failure to protect UK consumer data. Our immediate focus is to support those affected by this incident and to ensure we make all of the necessary improvements and investments to strengthen our security and processes going forward.”