Equifax, one of the major credit bureaus in the United States, announced on September 7, 2017 that it had suffered a security breach that potentially impacts 143 million consumers in the United States. The breach was discovered on July 29, 2017 and involved criminals retrieving files through an exploited website application. Information that the criminals accessed include names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and driver’s license numbers. Upon discovering the unauthorized access, Equifax engaged an independent cybersecurity firm, and reported the incident to law enforcement.
At USAmeriBank, the security of our customers’ information is a primary concern. We encourage you to consider taking the following precautions outlined below.
- Monitor Your Existing Accounts – Carefully review your existing credit card and bank accounts for charges that you don’t recognize. Alert your financial institution if you see anything that seems suspicious.
- Check Your Credit Report – Request your credit report from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion to look for any irregularities. Credit reports can be obtained for free by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com.
- Place a Fraud Alert on Your Credit Report– Place a free 90-day fraud alert on your credit reports by contacting one of the three major credit reporting bureaus: Experian (888-397-3742), TransUnion (800-680-7289), or Equifax (888-766-0008). A fraud alert will warn creditors that you are a potential identity theft victim and that they should take additional verification steps if anyone seeks credit in your name.
- Consider Placing a Credit Freeze on Your Files – Implement a credit freeze on your credit report. 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.
Additionally, Equifax has created a website specifically for this breach event, www.equifaxsecurity2017.com. The site includes information about the breach, FAQs, and a tool that lets you know if your information was potentially exposed. If your information has been compromised, the site will let you know and provide instructions on ways to mitigate the risk. Since the site asks for sensitive information, we suggest using a computer with a secure network connection.
Regardless of the exposure to the breach, Equifax is offering individuals in the United States a complimentary year of identity theft and credit monitoring via their TrustedID Premier product. The offer of complementary service is open for enrollment until November 21, 2017.
The Equifax breach may be the latest high-profile security issue, but similar cybersecurity crimes happen frequently. USAmeriBank is dedicated to assisting our clients with all their banking needs including mitigation against cybersecurity risk. If you are interested in managing cybersecurity risk for your company or have concerns about the security of your personal information, call your local USAmeriBank location to discuss how we can help.