On September 7, 2017, newsbroke regarding a security breach at Equifax (one of the three major U.S.credit reporting agencies) between mid-May and July of this year. Equifax has reported that approximately 143 million Americans had their names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and in some cases, driver's license numbers stolen.
While this breach has nothing to do with Ascentra Credit Union, because Equifax is one of the three major U.S. credit reporting agencies, the Equifax breach could affect our members as well as millions of other Americans.
Ways to protect yourself:
1) Equifax has established a website, www.equifaxsecurity2017.com,where you can check to see if your personal information may have been stolen. You can also call 1-866-447-7559 for more information. We recommend you check to see if you were affected. Equifax is offering free credit monitoring to all U.S. consumers for a year. If you were affected, we recommend utilizing the free credit monitoring service that Equifax is offering. It is also good to keep in mind that sometimes thieves wait to exploit stolen information for over a year when people tend to start letting their guard down, so remain vigilant.
2) You are entitled to one free copy of your credit report from each of the three major U.S. credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) each year. A good strategy to consider is to obtain your free credit report in an incremental fashion where you get a report every four months (for example: Equifax in January, Experian in May and TransUnion in September). To obtain your free credit report go to www.annualcreditreport.com.
3) Consider placing an extended fraud alert or freeze on your credit file at all three credit reporting agencies (Equifax, TransUnion and Experian). Before doing so, make sure understand the difference and how it can impact your credit accessibility.
4) As always, closely review your Ascentra accounts and all other account statements when you receive them. Immediately report any suspicious activity that you believe does not belong to you. At Ascentra, you must contact us within 60 days after the error appeared on your statement and you must notify us of any potential errors in writing. To help in monitoring your accounts sign up for email/text alerts to receive real-time notifications.
5) Visit Equifax's data breach response site, which contains up-to-date information about this data breach.
6) Visit the FTC's page on the Equifax breach to learn about what happened and what to do.
7) Visit the FTC's identity theft website to learn what steps to take in response to proven identify theft.