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Information regarding the recent Equifax data breach

There are many questions regarding the recent Equifax data breach. Everyone should check to see if their information was potentially hacked during the breach. Equifax has set up a special website where you can find out. Go to www.equifaxsecurity2017.com.

Our friends at ID Theft Assist provided the following information:

We understand that news of the recent Equifax breach is unsettling. Equifax’s recent data breach involved an estimated 143 million user records. The stolen data included Social Security Numbers, dates of birth, addresses, driver’s license numbers, and in some cases credit card information.

Equifax has published a website at equifaxsecurity2017.com for you to verify if your information was part of the breach. The good news is although your information has been compromised, there are specific steps you can take to safeguard your information and help prevent becoming a victim. However, if you do become a victim, we want you to know our Fraud Resolution Team is here to assist you.

• Check your credit reports — 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.
• Place a fraud alert on your credit file: Once you place a fraud alert on your credit file with one bureau, they will alert the other two.
• Place authentication features on financial accounts: Ask your bank to put account passwords or pins that would be required to complete any transactions on your accounts. Often fraudsters will call financial institutions to try to wire transfer funds, order new cards or change your address.
• DMV alerts: Next time you visit DMV, you can ask if they can place a fraud alert on your driving record.
• Set up an account at ssa.gov/myaccount: Setting up an account with the Social Security Administration allows you to monitor your annual earnings to ensure a fraudster is not using your SSN for employment purposes. Setting up the account also ensures a fraudster doesn’t set up the account to gain further access to your information.
• Security Freeze: Placing a Security Freeze with the credit bureaus locks your credit, making it inaccessible to creditors. When you place a Security Freeze, the bureaus will send you a confirmation pin number that will be used to lift your freeze. We recommend only lifting the freeze temporarily when you need to use your credit. You can remove the freeze on the credit bureaus’ websites. Equifax has offered to place security freezes for free for a limited time. Go to Equifax.com to place the freeze.
• File an IRS Affidavit: Alert the IRS of your compromised information by filling out the IRS Affidavit
• Chex Systems Alerts: You can place an alert with chexsystems.com to alert banks and financial institutions of your compromised information. This will help keep fraudsters from opening bank accounts in your name.
• Beware of phishing emails: Once fraudsters gather identifying information, they usually send official-looking texts, emails or phone calls to gather more data. If you click on a link or respond to a text from an unfamiliar source, it may allow the fraudster to implant malware or viruses on your phone or computer. Never click on any links in emails or respond to unknown senders of text messages. If you receive something of concern that looks official, go to that business’s secure website to get the correct phone numbers to call and inquire about messages you have received.
• Change all your passwords regularly: Smart account management should include complex passwords that are changed regularly. Consider making passwords on any financial accounts different than your email passwords.
• Beware of phone scams: If you receive a call from a bill collector or other source soliciting you for money on a past due bill, you need to validate the debt. A recent scam involved fraudsters pretending to be the IRS and collecting thousands of dollars from victims that had their personal data compromised. Always confirm debts with creditors directly and remember that most of the time you should receive a letter in the mail before a phone call.

We hope you find this information helpful.