Equifax Security Breach*
Insight on the Impact & How to Protect Yourself
Equifax recently had a major security breach in which very confidential information of over 100 million residents was stolen. The information that was stolen includes not only credit and bank account information, but also personal information such as social security numbers. Below is some insight on what this means to you and how you can protect yourself.
Credit Cards and Bank Accounts
The best and only real action you can take regarding your credit cards and bank accounts is to monitor your account transactions. You can either do this yourself manually or by subscribing to a monitoring service, which will monitor your activity for you. All monitoring services pretty much do the same things and can’t provide absolute assurance that your identity won’t be stolen.
Banks and credit card companies will reimburse you for the losses if they agree that the losses were from fraudulent transactions and if you report the transactions within sixty days, which is why actively monitoring your bank account transactions, can be beneficial.
How to find out if my information was stolen
To find out if your information may have been compromised go to a special website set up by Equifax to find out: https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on “Potential Impact,” enter some personal information and the site will tell you if you’ve been affected. Be sure you’re on a secure network (not public wi-fi) when you submit sensitive data over the internet.
How can I protect myself?
- Enroll in Equifax’s services.
Equifax is offering one year of free credit monitoring and other services, whether or not your information was exposed. You can sign up at https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/. You do not need to provide credit card information to enroll. Consumers who sign up for the program will not be automatically re-enrolled or charged at the end of the year.
- Monitor your credit reports.
In addition, you can order a free copy of your credit report from all three of the credit reporting agencies at annualcreditreport.com. You are entitled to one free report from each of the credit bureaus once per year.
- Monitor your bank accounts.
We also encourage you to monitor your financial accounts regularly for fraudulent transactions. Use online and mobile banking to keep a close eye on your accounts.
- Watch out for scams related to the breach.
Do not trust e-mails that appear to come from Equifax regarding the breach. Attackers are likely to take advantage of the situation and craft sophisticated phishing e-mails.
Should I place a credit freeze on my files?
Before deciding to place a credit freeze on your accounts, consider your personal situation. If you might be applying for credit soon or think you might need quick credit in an emergency, it might be better to simply place a fraud alert on your files with the three major credit bureaus. A fraud alert puts a red flag on your credit report which requires businesses to take additional steps, such as contacting you by phone before opening a new account.
How do I contact the three major credit bureaus to place a freeze on my files?
If we can be of further assistance please contact Passumpsic Savings Bank during normal business hours at (802) 748-3196 or toll free at (800) 370-3196.
* September 2017