Platinum Bank believes in acting quickly in our clients’ best interest. We recently became aware of an incident involving unauthorized access to confidential information held by Equifax Credit Bureau, one of the nation’s three major credit reporting agencies.
If you have a credit report, there’s a good chance that you’re one of the 143 million American consumers whose sensitive personal information was exposed in this data breach.
• The breach lasted from mid-May through July 2017.
• Hackers accessed people’s names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers.
• Hackers stole credit card numbers for about 209,000 people and dispute documents with personal identifying information for about 182,000 people and they grabbed personal information of people in the UK and Canada too.
If your information was included in this data breach it may have increased the probability of your information being used for fraudulent purposes. It is impossible to know with certainty whether your information was included in this breach or if you will experience trouble, but there are steps you can take to protect yourself, should you wish to do so.
• Visit Equifax’s website, www.equifaxsecurity2017.com.
o Find out if your information was exposed. Click on the “Potential Impact” tab and enter your last name and the last six digits of your Social Security number. Your Social Security number is sensitive information, so make sure you’re on a secure computer and an encrypted network connection any time you enter it. The site will tell you if you’ve been affected by this breach.
o Whether or not your information was exposed, U.S. consumers can get a year of free credit monitoring and other services. The site will give you a date when you can come back to enroll. Write down the date and come back to the site and click “Enroll” on that date. You have until November 21, 2017 to enroll.
o You also can access frequently asked questions at the site.
• 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 files. 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. To place a credit freeze, you must contact each of the three credit reporting agencies individually at their credit freeze portals.
• Monitor your existing credit card and bank accounts closely for charges you don’t recognize.
• If you decide against a credit freeze, consider placing a fraud alert on your files. 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.
• 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.
Visit Identitytheft.gov/data breach to learn more about protecting yourself after a data breach.