Huge Equifax® Data Breach Announced -
Steps you can take to help protect your identity and your credit.
On September 7, Equifax® announced it had a cyber-security attack that resulted in a huge data breach exposing an estimated 143 million consumers’ credit profiles and private information, in the US alone (The United Kingdom and Canada were also affected).
This breach contrasts from other breaches in the information that was stolen. Many noteworthy data breaches in the past have been focused on retailer/merchant breaches where the debit and card information was compromised. The compromised data here includes consumers’ names, SSNs, birth dates, addresses and driver’s license numbers, as well as 209,000 stolen card numbers and private data from 182,000 stolen dispute documents. You can go to the Equifax page here to find out whether your information may be affected: https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/potential-impact/ and learn more about available options.
With this information fraudsters and criminals may try any number of different tactics. They could attempt to apply for new credit under your identity, gain access to existing bank accounts or credit accounts in attempts to withdraw money, or even create false identities using your information for either financial or criminal gain.
It is important to act now to help protect your identity, your bank accounts, and your credit standing.
Here are some steps to take to help mitigate risk and any potential effects on yourself:
- Closely monitor all bank and credit accounts for any unusual activity and report anything suspicious to your credit union/bank or card issuer immediately.
- If possible, place an additional password for in-person or over-the-phone transactions and inquiries.
- Where available sign up for email and text alerts through your financial institution or card issuer’s website.
Here are some additional links for information on the data breach and identity theft:
- Equifax Consumer Notice page: https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/
- Federal Trade Commission Identity Theft Information Page: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/feature-0014-identity-theft
- FTC – Placing extended fraud alerts and credit freezes: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0279-extended-fraud-alerts-and-credit-freezes
- MembersAlliance security and privacy information: https://www.membersalliance.org/planning-education/security-privacy