Every week new information comes to light about the Equifax data breach which according to the NY Times has exposed 146 million Americans personal information. According to the company’s former CEO, the breach was a result of a mistake of a single employee. No matter who is at fault for the breach the data can cause many negative repercussions in the wrong hands. One of the most potentially harmful results of the data breach can be individuals identify being stolen and used to file taxes, obtain driver’s license, and commit crimes.
The data breach can also impact business owners as their credit card information can be at risk as well. Small business owners rely on personal credit to be able to sign leases, and get financing. If a business owner’s identity is stolen and their credit history is hurt as a result than their business can face harsh repercussions. In addition, if purchases are made using credit cards that were the result of a stolen credit card the business owners may suffer from lost sales, chargebacks or stolen merchandise.
Many Canadians believe that the Equifax data breach is America’s problem. However, according to some reports as many as 100,000 Canadians may have been affected by the cyberattack and that number could grow. While 100,000 impacted Canadians may seem like nothing compared to 146 million Americans that were impacted by the Equifax data breach the effect of the data breach and how it may impact merchant services and payment processing in Canada is still unknown.
With the reality that a single individuals mistake can impact millions of people’s life, cybersecurity and risk management are more important than ever when choosing a credit card processor. Make sure to ask your credit card processor how they are working to mitigate risk and protect important data given the Equifax data breach and ensure you are receiving the best service and security in this seemingly not secure world.