What to do about the Equifax Data Breach
Equifax had a data breach—Here’s how you can protect your financial info
Equifax, one of the major credit reporting agencies, announced recently that it encountered a cyber security incident. Equifax announced that about 143 million consumers potentially had their personally identifiable information compromised. Equifax has business relationships with many financial institutions, including Scott Credit Union. Based on the Equifax’s investigation, they have found no evidence of unauthorized activity on Equifax’s core consumer or commercial credit reporting databases.
The information accessed primarily includes names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers. In addition, credit card numbers for approximately 209,000 U.S. consumers, and certain dispute documents with personal identifying information for approximately 182,000 U.S. consumers were accessed.
Equifax is providing information about the breach on their website. You can read the information and decide if you want to take advantage of the tools Equifax is providing.
The Federal Trade Commission also provides information on their IdentityTheft.gov website about protecting yourself after a data breach.
Here are some practical tips for individuals whose information may be compromised:
- Monitor your personal credit reports for new applications that were filed on your behalf.
- Monitor your monthly statements for any unauthorized payments.
- Download the Scott Credit Union Mobile Banking app to closely monitor your Scott Credit Union accounts for charges you don’t recognize, and notify us immediately if there are fraudulent transactions on your account. Visit our Mobile Services page for more information about our Mobile Banking app.
- Consider placing a credit freeze on your files. A credit freeze makes it harder for someone to open a new account in your name. Keep in mind that a credit freeze won’t prevent a thief from making charges to your existing accounts. For more information visit the TransUnion Credit Freeze web page.
- If you decide against a credit freeze, consider placing a fraud alert on your files. A fraud alert warns creditors that you may be an identity theft victim and that they should verify that anyone seeking credit in your name really is you. Visit TransUnion Fraud Alert web page for more information on fraud alerts.
- File your taxes early — as soon as you have the tax information you need, before a scammer can. Tax identity theft happens when someone uses your Social Security number to get a tax refund or a job. Respond right away to letters from the IRS. The IRS will only contact you through the mail.
Visit our Security page for more information on protecting yourself from financial fraud.
Here are some additional tips to protect your personal and financial information:
Criminals will use an email, telephone messages, (vishing) or text messages on cell phones (Short Message Service or SMShing) to trick recipients into disclosing personal and financial data. Some phishing attempts ask e-mail or text recipients to respond with personal information; others include links to what appear to be familiar websites but are really spoofed copies. Once the user clicks on the link to the spoofed site, all future online activity gets funneled through the phisher’s system, giving him or her access to any account numbers and passwords the user enters online. To protect yourself from phishing:
- NEVER respond to an e-mail asking you to verify or update your personal information.
- Never click on links in unsolicited e-mail that you receive.
- Delete any unsolicited e-mails in your e-mail accounts – don’t even open them!
- Protect your passwords. Never write them down or enter them online unless you initiated the transaction.
- Never give out your personal or financial information on the phone or online unless you initiated contact.
- Check your credit report at least once annually, or sign-up for weekly or monthly alerts through credit management agencies.
- At home, use spam blockers, firewalls, virus protection, and adware & malware destroyers.
- Update your operating system whenever security patches are available.
Scott Credit Union has many systems in place to protect your financial information. Please do everything you can to protect your information and to monitor your accounts.