As you are probably aware, Equifax was recently impacted by a cyber-security attack that touched approximately 143 million U.S. Consumers, and occurred between mid-May and July 2017. The information accessed primarily included names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, driver’s license numbers, and credit card information.
It may feel disconcerting that an agency that stores so much information on consumers, and that is supposed to keep our credit information safe, was hacked. But there are things you can do in the wake of this attack to help protect your information from being misused.
Steps you should take to be proactive about protecting your identity:
- First, check to see if your information was impacted by visiting https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/potential-impact/. (Make sure you’re on a secure computer with an encrypted network connection when you do.) The site will let you know if you’ve potentially been affected by this breach.
- Stay up to date on the latest news from Equifax, and any breach-related info at equifaxsecurity2017.com.
- If you have an account with Equifax, change the password for it immediately.
- Sign up for credit monitoring services. Equifax has information on their site about enrolling for a free year of credit monitoring services. You can enroll for this service through Nov. 21st, whether your information was impacted, or not.
Other things you may want to consider, to help keep your information secure:
- Apply a credit freeze on your files, which can make it more difficult for someone to open new accounts in your name.
- Monitor credit card and financial institution accounts. An easy way to do this at USAgencies is to set up account alerts, inside Online Banking. If any unusual activity occurs, you are quickly notified via text or email.
- File your taxes early so that fraudsters won’t be able to use your personal information to get a tax refund.
- Watch out for phishing scams in the wake of the breach. Be wary of calls or emails from anyone claiming to be an Equifax agent. Legitimate Equifax representatives will not contact you to verify your info.
- Add a password to your accounts that only you know. At USAgencies, we always ask you identifying questions before providing you with any information about your account. If you have an additional password, we’ll ask for it, providing you with another level of security.
- Visit the Security section on our website. We have helpful information about how to safeguard your financial information, as well as info on the latest security alerts.
- Complete our Identity Protection module, via QuickStudy, one of the many free financial education tools you have available to you as a USACU member.
For additional steps you can take to protect yourself, visit Identitytheft.gov/databreach.
At USAgencies Credit Union, we want to help make sure your information is safe and secure. Please contact us with any questions about how you can best protect your personal information and accounts.