A few weeks ago, Equifax, one of the three main credit reporting agencies in the United States, announced that a massive data breach had occurred, and 143 million consumer’s personal information was compromised as a result. Information like names, social security numbers, birthdates, addresses, and drives license numbers are all included. If you have credit, then there is a possibility that you are one of the millions of Americans whose private information was exposed from mid-May through July 2017.
To find out if your information was exposed:
- Visit www.equifaxsecurity2017.com.
- Click on “Am I Impacted?” at the top, and then “Am I Impacted?” again. Enter your last name and last six digits of your Social Security number.
- The site will tell you if you’ve been affected by this data breach.
The Federal Trade Commission recommends taking these additional steps to help protect your sensitive information after a data breach.
- Check and print your credit reports from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — for free — by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com. Accounts or activity that you don’t recognize could indicate identity theft. In this case, visit IdentityTheft.gov to determine what to do next. If everything looks normal, print them out for proof in case of any future discrepancies.
- Consider placing a credit freeze on your accounts. A credit freeze makes it harder for someone to open a new account in your name. Keep in mind that a credit freeze won’t prevent a thief from making charges to your existing accounts. Some states do charge a fee to place a credit freeze. Each of the credit bureaus will give or allow you to create a PIN to unfreeze your report in the future. It is very important you do not lose or forget this PIN!
- Monitor your existing credit card and bank accounts closely for charges you don’t recognize. Immediately report any fraudulent charges.
- If you decide against a credit freeze, consider placing a fraud alert on your files. A fraud alert warns creditors that you may be an identity theft victim and that they should verify that anyone seeking credit in your name really is you. To do this, contact one of the three credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion. Initial fraud alerts are for 90 days and can be extended after that. Once you request a fraud alert from one agency, they will notify the other two.
- File your taxes early— as soon as you have the tax information you need, before a scammer can. Tax identity theft happens when someone uses your Social Security number to get a tax refund or a job. Respond right away to any letters from the IRS.
Lowland Credit Union is committed to protecting our members’ personal information as best we can. We are proud to offer CardValet®, a new service from Fiserv, on our debit and credit cards.
What is CardValet®?
CardValet® is a smartphone app that allows users to protect their debit and credit cards by choosing when, where, and how their cards are used. Receive alerts when your card is used, set spending limits, control transactions via merchant categories and location, and turn “off” a card if it’s misplaced or stolen and back “on” when ready to be used.
Protect your debit card with CardValet®. Download it in your app store today!