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Protect yourself following WA data breach

Personal information may be at risk for those with unemployment claims

The Washington State Auditor’s office announced Feb. 1 a breach of personal information impacting about 1.6 million Washingtonians.

Bank account information may be at risk for anyone who received an unemployment deposit directly into a bank or credit union account as opposed to receiving a check. Other information may also be at risk, including names and Social Security numbers.

Others who may be at risk in this breach include those who were the victim of false unemployment claims in 2020. In these cases, personal information may be at risk, but bank account information is unlikely to have been compromised.

The State Auditor’s office announced plans to contact impacted individuals as quickly as possible. It also dedicated a web page to the latest updates on the breach.

What happened?

On Dec. 25, 2020, a third-party vendor used by the state to transfer data experienced a security breach. This may have allowed unauthorized access to data used by the Washington State Auditor’s office.

As this incident happened between the state and one of its vendors, it is in no way caused by Numerica Credit Union.

Who is impacted?

The personal information contained in 1.6 million Washington unemployment claims was potentially accessed. These claims represent Washington residents who filed for unemployment — or who had false unemployment claims made in their name — between Jan. 1 to Dec. 10, 2020.

What steps should I consider taking today?

Monitor your accounts and credit

Any data breach serves as a stark reminder to always be on the lookout for suspicious account activity. Monitor your credit card and account statements regularly, looking for suspicious or unknown transactions.

Contact us immediately if you notice any suspicious or unfamiliar activity on your accounts. Do the same with credit cards and accounts you have with other financial institutions.

Online and mobile banking is the simplest way to monitor your accounts. Sign up today if you aren’t already online.

Add security features to your Numerica account

If you haven’t already done so, add enhanced identification questions to your account. This additional layer of security provides answers to questions a fraudster would not learn from a data breach. These questions are then available for account verification purposes in person or by phone. Call 800.433.1837 or visit a branch to set this up.

Set up account alerts. These customized notifications arrive by text message or email. Types of alerts include balance, transaction, and sign-in notifications. You can set these up in online banking or contact us to assist you.  

Finally, if you have a Numerica credit card, confirm you are signed up for fraud text alerts.

Review your credit report

You can obtain a free credit report once per year from each of the three major credit bureaus at annualcreditreport.com.

For added protection from identity theft, freeze your credit report to avoid new, fraudulent accounts opened in your name. Freezing your credit report is easy. Contact all three credit reporting agencies: Trans Union, Equifax, and Experian.

Considerations surrounding account changes

If you provided your Numerica account information as part of a 2020 unemployment claim, you may have questions about closing the impacted account.  

There are several factors to evaluate when considering changing an account. This includes items already tied to your account that would need updating, such as automatic payments. Since changing an account is a moment-in-time protection, your best line of defense is regularly, if not daily, monitoring your accounts. This is easy to do with mobile and online banking. It is very important to monitor your account and contact us immediately to help us protect your account.

If you prefer to close the impacted account, we are happy to help. We can assist you with a targeted approach, closing the specific account number made vulnerable by the fraud and opening a new one in its place. This allows you to close the impacted account number without changing all related account details. We can also move your current debit card to the newly created account.  

If you would like to make this change, call 800.433.1837 or visit a branch. Your financial well-being is our priority. 

Additional resources

For further reading, visit Numerica’s library of fraud and security resources.

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