Equifax Data Breach Information

Equifax Data Breach Information

September 15, 2017

Equifax Data Breach Information

Bank of the Valley wants to help protect you and your financial information. We want to make sure that you are aware of the Equifax data breach, help inform you as to what you should do to determine if your personal information has been compromised, and what options you have to protect yourself going into the future. 

This was NOT a compromise of Bank of the Valley’s computer systems and no information was taken from our systems. We want to share this information about Equifax to ensure you are aware of the issue and take the proper precautions to reduce the chances of fraud and identify theft.

FACTS

Equifax is a credit bureau/information solutions company that handles data worldwide on approximately 820 million consumers and 91 million businesses. 

On September 7th, Equifax, one of the three largest credit reporting agencies in the United States, announced that the records of approximately 143 million Americans were breached between May and July of this year.  It announced that those records contained names, birth dates, addresses, Social Security numbers, and some driver’s license numbers.  In addition to the personal information accessed, approximately 209,000 credit card numbers were obtained.   It has been determined that the data breach occurred because hackers were able to exploit a software vulnerability that was not patched in a timely manner. 

Industry wide consensus is that the biggest threat posed by this breach is the possibility of identity theft.

WHAT ARE MY OPTIONS?

  • Find Out If Your Information Was Compromised
    Equifax has set up this special website where you can find out if they believe your information was compromised:  https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/.
  • Enroll In Equifax’s Services
    Equifax is offering one year of free credit monitoring and other services, whether or not your information was exposed. You can sign up at https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/
  • Consider A Credit Freeze
    Before deciding to place a credit freeze on your accounts, consider your personal situation.  Will you apply for credit soon, apply to rent an apartment or think you might need quick credit in an emergency?  You can also decide to place a fraud alert on your files with the three major credit bureaus.  A fraud alert puts a red flag on your credit report which requires businesses to take additional steps, such as contacting you by phone before opening a new account.  A fraud lock may also be available through some Credit Bureaus.
    To place a Credit Freeze you must contact each Credit Bureau individually and request the action.  A freeze remains in place until you remove it.  Each Credit Bureau will have more information on their freeze.  Be aware that sometimes there is a fee to freeze your information
  • Monitor Your Credit Reports
    You can order a free copy of your credit report from three of the credit reporting agencies at www.annualcreditreport.com.  You are entitled to one free report from each of the credit bureaus once per year.
  • Monitor Your Bank Accounts And Credit Card Accounts
    You should monitor your financial accounts regularly for fraudulent transactions. Use online and mobile banking to keep a close eye on your accounts.
  • Watch Out For Scams Related To The Breach
    Do not trust e-mails or phone calls that appear to come from Equifax regarding the breach. Attackers are likely to take advantage of the situation and craft sophisticated phishing e-mails or robo-calls.

HOW DO I CONTACT THE CREDIT BUREAU’S?

  • Equifax: Call 800-349-9960 or visit its website.
  • Experian: Call 888-397-3742 or visit its website.
  • TransUnion: Call 888-909-8872 or visit its website.

Below is another credit bureau that is becoming more widely used and should also be considered.

  • Innovis:  Call 800-540-2505 or visit its website.

WHERE CAN I GET ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE EQUIFAX BREACH?

You can learn more directly from Equifax at https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/. You can also learn more by visiting the Federal Trade Commission’s web page on the breach at https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2017/09/equifax-data-breach-what-do. To learn more about how to protect your identity from theft after a breach, visit https://www.identitytheft.gov/Info-Lost-or-Stolen.