October 4, 2017
Equifax has announced another 2.5 million people may have been swept up in the massive data breach.
We’re getting more and more calls/emails regarding what you as consumers can do to protect your data. Along with all that’s mentioned in earlier Equifax posts, here are additional things you can/should do:
- Review your account(s) daily. With desktop banking and our mobile app, it’s easier than ever to review transactions on your account. If you see something strange or that you don’t recognize, contact Heartland immediately.
- Consider placing a “fraud alert” on your credit reports — you only need to contact one of the three agencies but be sure to request that the info be passed on to the other two.
- Equifax: call 800.525.6285
- Experian: call 888.397.3742
- TransUnion: call 800.680.3742
- Check your credit reports annually at www.annualcreditreport.com or call 877.322.8228. Stagger the review by pulling one report every 4 months to catch any “new” or suspicious activity more quickly.
- Beware of other sites that try to sell a credit report or offer a “free” report in exchange for a subscription to a service.
- Use “account alerts” available to you inside online banking. Log into eBanking, choose the “Info Center” tab and then “eAlert subscriptions.”
- Don’t click on links or attachments in emails from organizations with whom you’re not familiar. Even those you ARE familiar with, don’t be afraid to contact and verify!
- Use strong and long passwords. And change your passwords regularly!
September 8, 2017
On Thursday, September 7, 2017, Equifax announced a cybersecurity incident potentially impacting approximately 143 million U.S. consumers. The information accessed primarily includes names, Social Security Numbers, birth dates, addresses, driver’s license numbers, and credit card numbers.
Equifax has established a dedicated website to help consumers determine if their information has been potentially impacted and to sign up for credit file monitoring and identity theft protection.
Visit www.equifaxsecurity2017.com to get started.
The following announcement is from Seena Gressin, Attorney Division of Consumer & Business Education, Federal Trade Commission
If you have a credit report there’s a good chance that you’re one of the 143 million American consumers whose sensitive personal information was exposed in a data breach at Equifax one of the nation’s three major credit reporting agencies.
Here are the facts according to Equifax. The breach lasted from mid-May through July. The hackers accessed people’s names Social Security numbers birth dates addresses and in some instances driver’s license numbers. They also stole credit card numbers for about 209000 people and dispute documents with personal identifying information for about 182000 people. And they grabbed personal information of people in the UK and Canada too.
There are steps to take to help protect your information from being misused. Visit Equifax’s website www.equifaxsecurity2017.com.
- Find out if your information was exposed. Click on the “Potential Impact” tab and enter your last name and the last six digits of your Social Security number. Your Social Security number is sensitive information so make sure you’re on a secure computer and an encrypted network connection any time you enter it. The site will tell you if you’ve been affected by this breach.
- Whether or not your information was exposed U.S. consumers can get a year of free credit monitoring and other services. The site will give you a date when you can come back to enroll. Write down the date and come back to the site and click “Enroll” on that date. You have until November 21 2017 to enroll.
- You also can access frequently asked questions at the site.
Here are some other steps to take to help protect yourself after a data breach:
- Check your credit reports from Equifax Experian and TransUnion — for free — by visiting annualcreditreport.com. Accounts or activity that you don’t recognize could indicate identity theft. Visit IdentityTheft.gov to find out what to do.
- Consider placing a credit freeze on your 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 a thief from making charges to your existing accounts.
- Monitor your existing credit card and bank accounts closely for charges you don’t recognize.
- 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.
- 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 letters from the IRS.