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Equifax Data Breach: What You Need To Know

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At Horicon Bank, our goal is to keep you informed on recent scams, data breaches and all other forms of fraud that might threaten your personal information. If you haven’t heard of the Equifax Data Breach yet, here are a few quick facts:

  • At this time, it is estimated that 142 million Americans had their personal information exposed during this attack.
  • The breach lasted from mid-May through July.
  • The hackers accessed names, social security numbers, birth dates, addresses, credit card number and even driver’s license numbers.

The Wisconsin Banker’s Association issued a special release about the breach and how to check if you might be affected.

Not sure if your information has been compromised?

  1. Visit http://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/, an online service Equifax has set up, to check if your information has been compromised. Be sure to check out this helpful guide first to get you started on registering for help from the Equifax site.
  2. Be sure to read the terms of service. Equifax has an arbitration clause buried in the terms of service. The language bars those who enroll in the Equifax checker program from participating in any class-action lawsuits that may arise from the incident. There is an opt-out option to exclude yourself from the arbitration provision by notifying Equifax in writing within 30 days of the date that you first accept the agreement on the site. Read more about opting out here.
  3. Check all of your accounts via online services provided by your bank or credit card provider. If you don’t have access to or haven’t set up an online account, you can call the company directly for assistance in reviewing your accounts. Consumers should be looking for any discrepancies in their purchasing habits. Be sure to do this over the next few months! Just because the bad guys have your information now, it doesn’t mean they will use it immediately.
  4. Monitor your accounts closely and frequently. Balance your checkbook monthly and match credit card statements with receipts. By viewing accounts online and checking throughout the month, you’ll be able to identify possible problems sooner.
  5. Review your credit report every three or four months. You are entitled to one free credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus per year. Request a single report from one of the bureaus every three or four months. By staggering these requests, you will be able to monitor your credit throughout the year.

You know your information has been compromised:

  1. Contact the security departments of your creditors or bank to close the compromised account(s). Explain that you are a victim of identity theft and this particular card or account has been compromised. Ask them to provide documentation that the account has been closed. You should also follow up with a letter to the agency documenting your request.
  2. Contact the three major credit bureaus (Experian, Trans Union and Equifax) via phone immediately to request a fraud alert be placed on your file. Once again, explain that you are a victim of identity theft and ask that they grant no new credit without your approval. Again, follow up with a letter to the agency documenting your request.
  3. File a report with your local police department and request a copy of the report. This is good documentation to have on hand to prove your identity has been stolen as you begin the process of restoring your credit and good name.
  4. Document all of your actions and keep copies of everything.

Whether you are sure or unsure your financial information has been compromised, one of your first calls should be to your bank. Your bank has a variety of resources available for customers that can help with situations like these. Their staff are also knowledgeable and more than willing to help.

 

Contact information for the three major credit bureaus.

Experian

Order credit report: 888-397-3742

Report fraud: 888-397-3742

http://www.experian.com/

Trans Union

Order credit report: 800-888-4213

Report fraud: 800-680-7289

http://www.tuc.com/

Equifax

Order credit report: 800-685-1111

Report fraud: 800-525-6285

http://www.equifax.com/

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