Equifax hack exposes millions for identity theft
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Already being cited as one of the worst data breaches in history, the Equifax exposure could put as many as 143 million Americans at risk for fraud.
Information accessed includes names, Social Security numbers, birth dates and addresses. In some cases, driver’s license numbers, and credit card numbers could be attained as well.
Are you on the list?
Equifax has created a website for you to find out if you are a victim of the hack. Users of this site are encouraged to read Equifax’s instructions and understand them before proceeding with any personal information.
Check your credit score
Review your credit reports annually. The FACT Act allows you to receive a free credit report every year from each of the three major credit reporting agencies. Now is the perfect time to order your free annual credit report.
Review your accounts online
People who monitor their financial accounts and transactions online lose significantly less per fraud incident than those who rely on paper statements. Use Numerica’s Online Banking to regularly review your accounts.
Create enhanced ID questions
If the same questions used to identify you when you log into your account can be answers that you easily give out unknowingly on social media, it’s time to change them. You can do this by visiting a Numerica branch.
When you can, choose your own security questions. Select questions that are complex and not easy to find on your social pages. As a good test, scroll through your pictures and posts or do a quick Google search to see if you could answer these common security questions?
- Mother’s maiden name
- Pet’s names
- The city you met your spouse
- Your birthday. 68 percent of people shared their birthday and even if you don’t share it, friends and family might wish you a happy birthday on your wall.
Make sure the kids are safe
Children make an ideal target for identity theft for two reasons:
- Social Security numbers for minors are issued when they are born and then spend years in dormancy. This time of non-activity gives the thief years of use that can go undetected.
- Kids make easy targets
Freeze your credit
Enacting a credit freeze does not affect your current accounts. You can still use your credit card and use Bill Pay.
A credit freeze means potential creditors can’t get your credit report, making it less likely for new accounts (loans, credit cards, etc.) to be opened in your name.
If you discover fraudulent activity, you can freeze your credit. The cost to place and lift a freeze depends on state law. In Washington state, this is typically $10 per credit bureau. In Idaho, it is $6 per credit bureau. There is an additional $10 fee to unfreeze the accounts.
Putting a credit freeze on your credit file does not affect your credit score.
At Numerica, we understand that a situation like this creates stress and anxiety about the safety of your account information.
If you have further questions about this or any other correspondence that looks suspicious, please visit your favorite branch or call us at 1.800.433.1837.
If you have been a victim of identity fraud, contact our Fraud Department at 1.800.433.1837 ext. 8333.