(NBC) – Equifax, one of the country’s three major credit bureaus, has been targeted by hackers in what could be one of the largest data breaches ever.

Personal information for as many as 143 million people, half of the country’s population, was stolen between mid-May and July.

Addresses, Social Security numbers, birth dates and driver’s licenses were among the information stolen.

Montana residents were among those affected.

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“We know that 367,737 Montanans were affected by the Equifax data breach,” said Mark Mattioli, Chief of Montana’s Office of Consumer Protection.  “That’s nearly one-third of the state’s population; this is a huge data breach and consumers should take this news very seriously.  While we expect Equifax to send notification letters to Montana consumers impacted by the breach, we urge people to visit the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) website learn more about next steps following this announcement.”

Equifax has set up a website, EquifaxSecurity2017.com, to let you know if your information was stolen.

Experts suggest you sign up for credit monitoring, never respond to unsolicited requests for personal information, and frequently check your credit score.

“We could be impacted for many years on this because that data is now outside secure bounds,” says SAP National Security Service’s Mark Testoni.

Equifax CEO Richard Smith has promised to make it up to every customer, but some analysts say that promise is too little, too late, asking why the company is just now making public a breach it discovered in July.

To read the full press release from Equifax, click here.

For more information on how Montanans can place a freeze on their credit file click here.

Additional resources:

  • The data breach page identity theft click here
  • The FTC’s page on how to place a fraud alert here
  • Consumers can get a free copy of their credit report yearly here

For more information contact the Montana Office of Consumer Protection
(Toll-free) 800-481-6896 or (406) 444-4500 or e-mail contactocp@mt.gov.

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