Information on Equifax Breach
Equifax, one of the nation’s three major credit reporting agencies, recently reported a security breach. If you have a credit report, it may be likely that you’re one of the 143 million American consumers whose sensitive personal information was exposed in this incident.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, one of the federal agencies charged with protecting consumers, there are several important steps you may want to take to protect your information from being misused. Some of these steps are outlined below. You may also want to visit the FTC website for further information concerning the Equifax data breach and helpful tips to protect your information: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2017/09/equifax-data-breach-what-do.
- Visit Equifax’s website, www.equifaxsecurity2017.com, for more information.
- Check your credit reports from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – for free – by visiting annualcreditreport.com. Accounts or activity that you don’t recognize could indicate identity theft. Visit IdentityTheft.gov to find out what to do.
- Consider placing a credit freeze on your credit report. A credit freeze makes it harder for someone to open a new account in your name. Keep in mind that a credit freeze won’t prevent a thief from making charges to your existing accounts. Credit freeze FAQs: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0497-credit-freeze-faqs.
- Monitor your existing credit card and bank accounts closely for charges you don’t recognize. Other clues that someone may have stolen your identity include withdrawals from your bank account that you can’t explain and/or debt collectors calling you about debts that aren’t yours.
- If you decide against a credit freeze, consider placing a fraud alert on your credit report. A fraud alert warns creditors that you may be an identity theft victim and that they should verify that anyone seeking credit in your name really is you. Info on placing a fraud alert: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0497-credit-freeze-faqs.
- File your taxes early – as soon as you have the tax information you need, before a scammer can. Tax identity theft happens when someone uses your Social Security number to get a tax refund or a job. Respond right away to letters from the IRS. The IRS never asks taxpayers for personal information via email, text messages or social media. Here’s the link for further information and what to do if you receive something that is suspicious: https://www.irs.gov/privacy-disclosure/report-phishing.
- Visit IdentityTheft.gov/databreach to learn more about protecting yourself after a data breach.
Northwest FCS data systems were not affected by this incident. We do not provide customer-member information to credit reporting agencies. We remain committed to the privacy and security of our customer-members’ information.