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Member SECURITY Education & Alerts

 

ALERT - Equifax Data Breach

On September 7, 2017, Equifax, one of the largest credit bureau reporting agencies in America – announced that a massive data breach occurred potentially affecting up to 143 million U.S. consumers.  Personal data such as names, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, addresses, and even some driver’s license numbers, were involved in the breach.  In some cases, the records also included actual credit card numbers.  Equifax stated the unauthorized access occurred from mid-May through July 2017.

Please use the following tips to help educate and protect yourself as a result of this reported breach.

  • Equifax has set up a dedicated site at www.equifaxsecurity2017.com for consumers to determine if they have been impacted by the breach. Consumers can also enroll in one free year of credit report monitoring from Equifax when visiting this site.
  • View our Identity Theft Toolkit provided through our financial literacy partner BALANCE. Our online toolkit is packed with practical tips and resources.
  • Check your credit reports annually from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — for free — by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com. BALANCE can help them review these reports, including how to dispute inaccurate information.
  • Consider placing a credit freeze on your credit files. 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 charges from occurring on existing accounts.
  • Monitor existing credit card and financial institution accounts closely for charges that are not recognized.
  • Consumers may also consider placing a fraud alert on their 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 is really you.

 

Protect Yourself from Identity Theft

It's a growing problem that you want to avoid. Our Balance Financial Fitness Program also offers a wealth of publication and resources for educating and protecting yourself against Identity Theft and Fraud. Plus Identity Theft Solutions - Common Practices, Prevention, Consumer Rights, Recovery Guide, Resources and an ACTION Log Pdf.

Here are a few brief tips to help you avoid becoming an identity theft victim.

  • Don't provide personal information to anyone unless you initiated the contact.
  • Shred personal information before discarding.
  • Protect PINs and passwords and don't make them easy for others to figure out.
  • Carry only cards and driver's license you use routinely with you daily.
  • Read account and billing statements carefully.
  • Review your credit report annually from each of the three major bureaus

To order credit reports:

Currently, you are eligible to receive one free credit report during any 12-month period if you believe your file contains inaccurate information due to fraud. As of September 1, 2005 all consumers can order a free credit report annually from the three reporting agencies above through a centralized resource using this phone or web contact information.
Phone: 1-877-322-8228
Internet: www.annualcreditreport.com


If you become an identity theft victim follow these important steps.

  • File a police report.
  • Contact the fraud departments at the credit bureau numbers listed above
  • Contact the Federal Trade Commission hotline 1-877-ID-THEFT
  • Contact all creditors to inform them, close accounts, and obtain new cards and security codes.


To report fraud:

 

Phishing on the Rise

Beware of Attempts to Collect Your Personal Information

What is Phishing?
Phishing is an attempt, using fraudulent e-mail or website pop-ups, to get you to divulge sensitive financial information such as credit card numbers, account numbers, user names, passwords, or social security numbers. Phishing differs from virus or worm attacks in that e-mail or pop-up itself is innocuous, and cannot grab your personal information from your system without your knowing it. Instead, phishing relies on old-fashioned con artist tricks to get you to give up the information voluntarily. This information is used to steal your identity and run up bills in your name.

How does Phishing work?
Generally the e-mail or pop-up will be cleverly crafted to look like it came from a financial institution, regulatory agency or other online company, such as PayPal or eBay that you trust. It will ask you to verify account information within the body of the email or direct you to a website that fakes the look of the company's website. Often times these fakes are very good. Any information you enter will be sent to the perpetrators of the fraud.

How do I protect myself?
The best protection against phishing scams is to be cautious in how you share sensitive financial or personal information. Be skeptical of any e-mail or pop-up that asks for personal information. Anti-SPAM filtes block many phishing e-mails, and pop-up blockers can limit the number of pop-ups you get, but no technology can prevent you from falling for the con. Legitimate businesses are very aware of phishing, and do not send e-mails requesting sensitive information. Do not reply to the e-mail, or follow any of the links. If you think the request might be genuine, confirm it either by calling the company directly at a number you know, or go directly to the company's website by typing a known address in the browser window. When evaluating an e-mail message requesting personal information, try to imagine it as an unsolicited telephone call. If you wouldn't give that information over the telephone to an unknown caller, don't give it out in response to an unsolicited e-mail.

What should I do if I've given out information to Phishers?
What you do will depend on what type of information you have given out. For more information, including how you can report this crime, go to http://www.cybercrime.gov/.

How can I learn more?

There are a number of sites on the web that provide information about phishing. The Anti-Phishing working group has excellent information relating to many different types of attacks on their Consumer Advice web page, at http://www.antiphishing.org.

For tips from the Federal Government and the technology industry to help you be on guard against fraud, improve online safety and protect your personal information visit OnGuard Online, at http://www.onguardonline.gov/

For additional information about how to identify fraudulent emails and protect yourself go to this FTC consumer alert address, at http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/scam-alerts.

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