Equifax Data Breach
What Happened? Equifax, one of the three major credit reporting agencies, recently announced that the records of approximately 143 million Americans were breached between May & July of this year. Those records contained names, birth dates, addresses, Social Security numbers and some driver’s license numbers. In addition to the personal information accessed, 209,000 credit card numbers were also obtained by the hackers.
Am I At Risk? Equifax has set up a special website for consumers to determine whether their information has been compromised. Go to https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on “Potential Impact”. You will be required to enter your last name and the last six digits of your social security number. The site will then tell you if you’ve been affected by the breach. As always, be sure you are on a secure network (not public wi-fi) when you submit sensitive data over the internet.
How Can I Protect Myself? The biggest risk posed by this breach is the threat of identity theft. The following are a few best practices to adhere to:
- Check your credit report. You can order a free copy of your credit report from all three of the credit reporting agencies at https://www.annualcreditreport.com . You are entitled to one free report from each of the credit bureaus once per year. (NOTE: Staggering your requests from the various credit bureaus over the course of the year, should help you monitor your credit throughout the year.)
- Monitor your bank accounts regularly for fraudulent transactions. Use online and mobile banking to keep a close eye on your accounts on a regular basis. You may also want to take advantage of any services offered by your financial institution that alert you to suspicious or unusual activity on your account.
- Watch out for scams related to the breach. Criminals often take advantage of breaches and craft sophisticated phishing emails encouraging consumers to provide personal information. When in doubt, do not click.
Other options also available include: 1) Enrolling in Equifax’s free credit file monitoring and identity theft protection for the next year; and/or 2) Placing a fraud alert or credit freeze on your accounts.
While the State Bank of Cold Spring was not compromised and your information was not stolen from our bank, we felt it was important to provide you with the above information, so you may take steps to protect your personally identifiable information, if you so desire. We are asking all of our customers to be extra vigilent and report any suspicious activity in your State Bank of Cold Spring account(s) to us by calling us at 320-685-8655.