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Equifax, one of the major credit reporting agencies, released information on September 7, 2017 that a cybersecurity incident may have potentially impacted approximately 143 million U.S. consumers. Criminals exploited a U.S. website application vulnerability to gain access to certain files. Although this is not the largest breach that has ever occurred, it is the largest in respect to the severity of personal information taken. It has been reported that 44% of Americans are affected. For detailed information about the breach, Equifax has set up a website at www.equifaxsecurity2017.com
Here are some tips on how you can protect yourself:
- www.identitytheft.gov/Info-Lost-or-Stolen, a website run by the Federal Trade Commission, is a useful site for recovering from or preventing identity theft.
- Check your credit reports from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion for free by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com.
- 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 charges from occurring on existing accounts.
- Monitor your credit card and other financial accounts closely for charges that you do not recognize.
- Also 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 is really you.
- Reset account passwords, PIN codes and other login credentials on financial accounts that may be vulnerable.
- Set up transaction alerts with your financial institution accounts.
If you are looking for more guidance on this situation, the certified experts at BALANCE offer no-cost financial coaching to CAFCU members. Click here for more information.