Equifax data breach: 143 million people could be affected
Now that’s a scary headline to start your day with. I want to take some time to unpack this issue a little bit and let you know what this could mean for you and your identity.
First of all, this was not a breach of your account information with the credit union. Equifax is one of the major credit reporting agencies that collects information from most financial institutions and generates those oh-so-important credit scores used to get credit for things like cars and mortgages. That means they have a lot of data about you, me, and pretty much everybody.
Details are vague as to how, but Equifax discovered a breach occurred from the middle of May through July of this year. Their systems were compromised through undisclosed means, by unknown attackers. Details that fill in some of the gaps will surely come out on this in the coming days and weeks.
What information was leaked
The “143 million people” number is big and blaring in the news headlines, given that we’re talking over 44% of the country. But not everything was leaked on all of those people. Not to say this situation isn’t bad – (it is!) – but here’s more info on the numbers:
- 143 million records including social security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and some driver’s license numbers
- Of those, 209,000 records included credit card numbers
What you should know
- Your banking information with us is not compromised. The account numbers and debit card numbers you have with us are safe. A small portion of credit card numbers may have been involved, but at this time we have no reason to suspect any significant issues
- If your information was involved in this leak, Equifax will be telling you about it via a direct mailing. If you want to know right away, you can look yourself up on the Equifax website, www.equifaxsecurity2017.com. Keep in mind that many millions of people are trying to find out what’s going on right now and their website may not work when you try it
- If you receive information that you were impacted, please let us know by calling us at (319) 892-7300 or stopping by one of our branches, so that we can help you take some proactive measures to protect yourself. Learn more about avoiding and dealing with identity theft in the Financial Basics section of our website.
What you should do
- Consider taking advantage of the free credit monitoring service that is being provided to anyone that wants it. Information about that service can be found on the Equifax website
- Be extra diligent in the coming weeks and months if you are receiving any calls or emails that you don’t expect regarding credit monitoring services or other “offers” to help. Unfortunately scammers and other hooligans tend to ride the coattails of these bad situations to try to dupe people into other types of scams
- As always, carefully monitor your statements for all of your financial services to ensure there is nothing suspicious showing up. If you see something on your Linn Area statement, contact us as soon as you can so we can work with you to identify and resolve the problem
- If you’re not using eBranch, our free online banking service, or our ShopPING Card Protection service, you should look into it. These are great tools to stay up to date on the latest activity with your cards and accounts
Want more information?
There’s a ton out there. Here are some resources that will give you the most current and accurate details, as well as advice on what more you can do.
- Federal Trade Commission: The Equifax Data Breach: What to Do
- Equifax’s Official Statement
- Equifax’s Frequently Asked Questions
- Equifax’s Potential Impact Search Tool
- Equifax’s Enrollment Page for Free Identity Theft Protection
Hopefully this was helpful for you. We take the security of your information very seriously at Linn Area Credit Union and will continue to monitor this situation so we can ensure the highest level of security for you and your accounts.
Matt is the Director of Compliance at Linn Area Credit Union. He started as a member service specialist, moved to mortgage processing, and then jumped into compliance and security. Besides having widespread knowledge, his sense of humor is off the hook. “If you got a problem, yo, I’ll solve it — check out this hook while the DJ revolves it” should be his mantra. Seriously.