What You Need to Know About the Equifax Cybersecurity Breach
Equifax Inc. announced on September 7, 2017, approximately 143 million U.S. consumers have been potentially impacted by a cybersecurity breach. Based on the company’s investigation, criminals were able to gain unauthorized access from mid-May through July 2017 to certain files.
The information accessed includes names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and in some instances driver’s license numbers. Approximately 209,000 U.S. consumer credit cards numbers and certain dispute documents with personal identifying information for approximately 182,000 U.S. consumers were also accessed.
If you have ever had a loan or a credit card from any bank, credit union or other financial institution, or a store card (furniture store, retail department store, hardware or electronics store, etc.) you should check to see if your personal information is at risk.
What you need to do:
Go to https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/potential-impact/ to determine if your information has been potentially impacted. Centris recommends that anytime your credit file has been breached, members should sign up for free credit monitoring when it is offered. Equifax is offering this service through their website.
The offering, called TrustedID Premier, includes 3-Bureau credit monitoring of Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit reports; copies of Equifax credit reports; the ability to lock and unlock Equifax credit reports; identity theft insurance; and Internet scanning for Social Security numbers – all complimentary to U.S. consumers for one year (keep track of when you sign up so that you can cancel if needed before the one year free service expires or you may be charged). The website also provides additional information on steps consumers can take to protect their personal information. Equifax recommends that consumers with additional questions visit www.equifaxsecurity2017.com or contact a dedicated call center at 866-447-7559, which the company set up to assist consumers. The call center is open every day (including weekends) from 7:00 a.m. – 1:00 a.m. Eastern time.
Equifax will send direct mail notices to consumers whose credit card numbers or dispute documents with personal identifying information were impacted.
What Centris Does To Protect You:
Centris has internal procedures in place when opening new accounts and applications to ensure we’re verifying the identity of the applicant. Our number one goal is to safeguard our members’ private information; therefore, we regularly enhance our security measures to ensure we’re doing everything we can do to protect your information. We do this so that someone cannot impersonate you at one of our offices.
How To Protect Yourself From Identity Theft and Fraud:
- Monitor your bank and credit accounts monthly. Fraud is always a possibility and you should know immediately if transactions are being made without your consent. With Visa consumer alerts, you’ll be notified within minutes of transactions occurring based on limits you set. Sign up to receive them here: https://www.centrisfcu.org/my-card-alerts/
- Monitor your credit report annually. You can request one free credit report from all three major credit bureaus per year. Centris recommends using annualcreditreport.com. If you suspect any fraudulent activity, contact Centris and the credit bureaus right away. Together we can work to report the fraud, which may help catch the fraudsters and help you recuperate your losses. It also helps prevent fraudsters from selling your information.
Centris’s relationship with Equifax: It is a financial institution best practice to report member information to all three major credit bureaus, including Equifax. This benefits you, the member, because your good payment history is being reported in multiple places, ensuring you are offered the best rate possible when you apply for any type of credit.