Keeping control of your identity.
The recent Equifax breach has many consumers shaken when thinking about the impact it may have in their lives. What should you do in the aftermath of the breach?
According to news reports, the hackers exploited a “website application vulnerability” and obtained the personal data about American as well as British and Canadian consumers.
For more details about the breach check out the NBC News article.
How will I know if I’m affected?
Equifax will be communicating directly with those included in the breach. As part of this they will be offering to pay for a credit monitoring service. Read the notice carefully to learn what information may have been exposed and how. Keep the notice in case you ever need to prove that your data was compromised through no fault of your own.
You may also want to visit Equifax’s Cybersecurity Incident page to see what options they are offering all US consumers. As Equifax uncovers and releases more information, the best course of action for impacted individuals is to follow the preventive and remedial steps they are providing at https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/potential-impact/. Equifax also has a phone line for consumers if you have questions relating to the hacking incident at 866-447-7559.
What do I do if I don’t want to use Equifax’s solutions?
It’s a natural response to want to seek help from a source other than Equifax. Mill City Credit Union partners with CyberScout to offer LifeStages at no charge to all checking account holders. LifeStages provides resolution services should identity theft occur and covers other people in the household. They can help navigate the often challenging and frustrating process of dealing with identity breaches/theft.
If you’re looking for something a little more proactive…Mill City’s partnership with CyberScout also means we offer FraudScout – credit and fraud monitoring identity protection services. FraudScout provides proactive protection for a reasonable fee. This is very similar to what the free 1 year of service that Equifax is offering to those impacted, but if you feel more comfortable with another source, FraudScout is a trusted option.
What else can I do to protect myself?
- Monitoring all of your accounts, we recommend at least weekly, to ensure all activity is authorized is the first line of defense. Enable text and email alerts when possible.
- You can place a freeze on your report with each bureau. This requires a lender to make contact with you prior to extending new credit in your name.
- Free credit scores and reports are available in Mill City’s Mobile Money and Virtual Branch. This free service provides credit monitoring of TransUnion credit bureau activity and alerts you if there are inquiries, new accounts added or other changes to your TransUnion credit report.
- You can also monitor your credit report activity through each bureau (www.annualcreditreport.com) once per year.
- Use a proactive credit monitoring resource such as FraudScout
- Change all user access credentials. If you use the same passwords for all financial institutions, change them. Watch out for suspicious email, phone and snail-mail scams. Enable text and email alerts and turn on two-factor authentication when possible.
Will Mill City be switching credit bureau providers?
This news is unsettling to us as well. Unfortunately, breaches are a becoming an all-too-common reality. In 2015, Experian had a breach as did the Office of Personnel Management of the federal government; as have several state governments. Breaches are prevalent and don’t seem to be stopping any time soon.
Mill City has a long standing relationship with Equifax. At this time, no decision has been made about future direction.
How does Mill City protect member information?
There are regulatory requirements related to the type of audits that each vendor must complete; we work with vendors that meet these requirements. Additionally, a great deal of time and energy is spent annually on verifying vendor due diligence. Mill City CU’s highest priority is protecting member information. To this end, we participate in a rigorous audit process and adhere to our regulator’s requirements for every aspect of our business and our daily activities.