IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR OUR MEMBERS ABOUT THE EQUIFAX BREACH
As you may have heard, credit reporting agency Equifax announced on September 7th that they experienced a data breach of customer’s data sometime between May and July. Up to 143 million customers may have had personal identifying information (PII) compromised as a result, including:
- Names and Addresses
- Social Security Numbers
- Date of Birth
- Driver’s license numbers
- Credit card numbers
- Account numbers
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR YOU?
There is no way to confirm if your PII was compromised as a result of this breach. While Equifax has provided a website (www.equifaxsecurity2017.com) link to search your name, there have been reported inconsistencies with the results of this website. We believe it’s best to assume you are part of the breach and take action(s) you are most comfortable doing. MMCCU, like most creditors, has interactions with the three major credit reporting agencies: TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. If you obtained a loan of any type, including credit cards, in the past few years here or elsewhere, there is a good possibility that you are impacted by the breach.
If fraudsters have your PII, they could use this information in a number of ways, including identify theft.
- Fraudsters could apply for new credit cards and loans in your name
- While you may not be financially responsible if a fraudster does open a new credit card under your name, it will be your responsibility to work with the bank or credit union to close it out and to work with the credit bureaus to remove this information off of your credit report.
- Your credit score could also take a hit if negative loan activity is transmitted to the credit bureau, whether fraudulent or not.
- Fraudsters could file fraudulent tax returns using your Social Security Number before you get a chance to file your legitimate tax return.
- Fraudsters could also request replacement cards for existing credit cards you have open or even produce fake cards with the information they have obtained.
STEPS TO TAKE
There is no perfect solution for this problem. However, there are steps you can take to monitor your credit report information.
- Federal law allows each individual to request one free credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies on a yearly basis. The only source for truly free credit reports is annualcreditreport.com. Pulling your credit report from any of the three bureaus allows you to monitor what is being reported in your name, when your credit report has been accessed in recently years, and if you’re showing any delinquent payments. A tip is to stagger the time when you request your credit report from each of the credit reporting agencies. This allows you to monitor your credit reports evenly throughout the year as opposed to checking all three reports at one time.
- Monitor your existing credit cards, loans, savings and checking account activity to verify that all transactions are yours.
- You can request a freeze be placed on your credit reports. Please note that this has to be done with each credit bureau, and there could be a cost tied to doing this, which varies by state. Phone numbers and websites are listed below for each credit bureau:
- Phone: 1-888-909-8872
- Website: https://freeze.transunion.com/
- Phone: 1-800-685-1111
- Website: https://www.freeze.equifax.com/
- Phone: 1-888-397-3742
- Website: https://www.experian.com/freeze/center.html
- File your tax return as soon as possible.
- You can enroll in our credit monitoring service, called Kasasa Protect™. Please visit this page to learn more about the program. There is a monthly fee.
- If you are concerned with imposters contacting MMCCU and impersonating you, set up a security phrase or question on your account to provide whenever you call or try to access your account in person. This is a free service.
Check out these other websites to learn more about the specifics of the Equifax breach, identify theft, and steps you can take to help protect yourself.
Federal Trade Commission: https://www.ftc.gov/
FTC’s Identify Theft: https://www.identifytheft.gov/