Equifax Security Breach

On September 7, Equifax, one of the three major credit bureaus, announced it had suffered a major data breach sometime in late spring or early summer of this year. Approximately 143 million consumers could be impacted by the breach, as hackers were able to tap into personal information such as names, birthdates, social security numbers, credit card numbers and driver’s license numbers.

This breach is no way the fault of the credit union, nor do we have any way of knowing which members [if any] could be affected. Still, with it being such a major concern to all Americans, we are deeply concerned about this and any situation that could cause our members financial distress.

While not everyone will be the victim of identity theft because of this breach, it will be important to take proactive steps to protect yourself. Here are some steps everyone should take:

Initiate a fraud alert
Contact any of the three credit bureaus—Equifax, Experian, or Trans Union—and tell them you want to initiate a fraud alert. When a fraud alert is initiated by one credit bureau, the other two credit bureaus are contacted and automatically initiate the fraud alert, too. A fraud alert will notify any potential lender that you’ve been a victim of fraud and they should contact you directly before opening a line of credit. The fraud alert stays active for 90 days and can be renewed when it expires.

Monitor your bank accounts and credit cards
Regularly check your credit union and bank accounts or credit cards for any suspicious activities. If these accounts offer fraud alerts, make sure the fraud alerts have been activated. If you do spot suspicious activity, alert your credit union, bank, or credit card company immediately.

Monitor your credit report
If you have not done so already, pull a copy of your free credit report from annualcreditreport.com. Everyone is entitled to a free copy of his or her credit report every 12 months. If any new accounts are added to your credit report, contact the credit bureaus immediately.

Monitor your email and regular mail
Pay attention to and retain any mail or email you receive that is unfamiliar to you, such as notices from the IRS regarding your taxes or any bills from unknown lenders.

Freeze or lock your credit report
A security freeze will prevent potential lenders from accessing your credit report. Your credit report will only be accessible by unfreezing the account. If you are planning to apply for new credit in the near future, you could consider postponing the security freeze.

As of October 1, 2017, Equifiax is not charging a fee to freeze credit reports, but that may change in the future. For more information about freezing and locking your credit report, visit the three credit bureaus' websites:
Equifax: www.equifax.com
Experian:
www.experian.com
Trans Union:
www.transunion.com

 



If you have any questions about your credit or credit report,
please call USSCO Federal Credit Union at 814.266.4987 or toll-free 866.877.2628.



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