Equifax Inc, a provider of consumer credit scores, said personal details of as many as 143 million U.S. consumers were accessed by hackers between mid-May and July, in what could be one of the largest data breaches in the United States. The details accessed included names, social security numbers, and, in some cases, driver’s license numbers, Equifax said. In addition, credit card numbers of around 209,000 U.S. consumers and certain dispute documents with personal identifying information of around 182,000 U.S. consumers were accessed, the company said.
If you have questions about your credit card numbers and other important personal information as it pertains to this breach, we encourage you to utilize the tools that Equifax has setup for consumers to check on their information:
- Visit www.equifaxsecurity2017.com which describes the security breach and next steps for consumers. Equifax is offering free credit monitoring to ALL U.S. consumers for 1 year through this page as well as the ability to input your name and a portion of your SS number to find out if your information is among those that may be compromised.
- You can also contact the Equifax call center at 866-447-7559 which is open from 7am to 1am EDT.
Equifax will NOT be sending emails or making phone calls directly to consumers. They will send direct mail notices to consumers whose credit card numbers or dispute documents with personal identifying information were impacted. You as a consumer should remain diligent to avoid getting caught up in phishing emails or phone calls that may attempt to take advantage of situations like these. Always go directly to the website or contact Equifax by phone.
Other ways to help protect yourself:
- Request a copy of your credit report and report suspicious activity to your bank or credit card company immediately.
- Place fraud alerts on your credit reports. This means that a lender must contact you to verify your identity before it issues credit in your name. You can place an alert on your report for free by contacting one of the credit agencies, which is required to notify the other two. It will last for 90 days and can be renewed.
- Customers can also put a long-term freeze on your credit. A freeze takes your credit report out of circulation. If someone else goes to take out a loan in your name the lender will not be able to pull your report and can’t extend credit. If the customer wants to take out a loan for him/herself, they will have to contact the reporting agency to temporarily lift the freeze. Generally, fees to freeze your credit range from $5 to $10.
Please note that Waterford Bank, N.A. does NOT report customer loan information or activity to the credit bureau or repositories, however, we are considered a user of credit bureau information. Therefore, many of our customers are likely affected by this breach through various other creditor means, but we do not report their Waterford Bank account numbers or identifying information of record.