Equifax Breach - 5 Things You Need to Know
Buried in news stories of recent hurricanes Harvey and Irma’s devastation was a major cybersecurity incident—an Equifax data breach which affected nearly 150 million U.S. Equifax customers. Equifax, one of three major consumer credit reporting agencies reported external hackers took advantage of weak areas in the agency’s reporting software May through July 2017.
Here are a few things you should know about the incident.
1. The data breach did not occur at MembersFirst Credit Union.
2. Information that was accessed through the breach at Equifax included names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some cases, driver’s license numbers. Credit card numbers for 209,000 U.S. cardholders and another 182,000 dispute documents were also accessed. Equifax will send direct mail notices to consumers whose credit card numbers or dispute documents with personal identifying information were impacted.
3. You may not see anything suspicious now; however, the breach occurred May-July 2017 and identity thieves are patient; they may not use your information for several months.
4. Equifax is offering free credit monitoring to those impacted – for one year.
5. Equifax created a security page to deal with this issue specifically - equifaxsecurity2017.com.
What you can do.
Visit equifaxsecurity2017.com to see if you are among those potentially affected. If so, you may request one year of free credit file monitoring and identity theft protection on the Equifax site.
Pull a free copy of your credit report from each of the three bureaus at annualcreditreport.com. You don’t have to pay for the score. In this case, you are looking at your report to ensure you are aware of all credit lines on your credit history – this gives you a baseline of where you are today. Make sure you know who all the lenders are. Monitor your credit report.
Pay attention to financial statements. Report every instance of suspicious account activity to MembersFirst or any other financial institutions you use immediately.
You can place a ‘freeze’ on your credit which will prevent new lenders from pulling your credit without your permission. You will need to visit each credit bureau to do so. Please note that when you freeze your credit there may be a fee associated with freezing/locking or unlocking it each time.
Be alert. Don’t provide credit or account information to anyone calling over the phone. Most financial institutions do not call you to verify your personal information. In the event you receive a call from an individual claiming to be from a financial institution you do business with, do not provide any additional information. If you are uncomfortable, hang up and call the company directly using the number listed on their website, business cards or brochures.
Be sure your contact information is up to date with all your financial institutions. This helps them verify your information when you call and contact you if there is a problem.
How your Credit Union is helping you.
MembersFirst will continue to verify your identity carefully when you contact us or visit our branch. Be sure to have an updated, unexpired, government-issued picture ID. We will continue to safeguard your information and provide access to this information to credit union employees in the event that it is essential to serving you. We have a comprehensive fraud network for Visa® Credit and Debit cards. Our automated system will contact you via phone to verify transactions that appear to be fraudulent. You will never have to provide your personal information. Our member advisors will ask detailed identifying information only when YOU contact us – this is for your security.
For more tips on how you can take action to protect your personal information, visit our blog at simplifyyourfinances.com. We take your privacy very seriously. You can read our full privacy disclosure at membersfirstga.com/privacy. If you feel you’ve been affected by this breach, please contact us.