ATLANTA - It's one of the worst leaks of personal information ever and it's already affected as many as 143 million consumers.
Thursday, Equifax announced hackers infiltrated their data base gaining access to personal information including names, addresses, and social security numbers.
"This is a big deal for three reasons," Credit Expert John Ulzheimer said. "First it was a credit bureau, secondly it affected a massive amount of people and finally it's a big deal because of the kind of info it exposed. When someone has your personal information, it can be a life changing event because you're constantly unsure of what they may do next. Racking up debt on your credit card is best case scenario, but worst case is them trying to live a life with your identity."
Ulzheimer, a former Equifax employee, told FOX 5 there are a few steps you can take if you've been potentially impacted.
"First you need to put a fraud alert on your credit reports," Ulzheimer said. "It will require a lender to contact you directly when an application for credit is received."
Ulzheimer said if you still feel anxious, you can take it a step further.
"Request a credit report security freeze," Ulzheimer said. "This will allow you to control if your credit report is accessible, who can access and when they can access it. It's like the Fort Knox of credit report protection."