Equifax, a major consumer credit reporting agency, released information concerning a large-scale cyberattack. Personal identifiable data from potentially 143 million consumers was stolen from a website database over the summer. You can read more about the hack here. In short, Date of Birth, Social Security Numbers, Driver’s License numbers and other consumer information was leaked, along with several hundred thousand credit card numbers.

Equifax Official Statement

Determine if you have been affected

To mitigate the damage, Equifax has dedicated a line at 866-447-7559 to take calls regarding the breach.

You can also visit http://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/ to check if you have been affected. Equifax will send direct mail notices to consumers whose credit card numbers or dispute documents with personal identifying information were impacted. Any U.S. consumer can sign up for a complimentary year of TrustedID Premier as well.

Additional Information from the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau:

“Any time you are offered free credit monitoring, make sure you check for:

  • Trial periods
  • Fees
  • Cancellation requirements
  • Other restrictions, such as automatic renewals
  • Whether you are being asked to give your credit card, debit card, or bank account information

If you don’t give your credit card, debit card, or bank account information, that helps to avoid getting automatically renewed and charged for something that you expected to be free. This will also help to make sure you don’t face unexpected fees, charges, or other limitations.”

Spirit of Alaska credit card numbers are safe

Spirit of Alaska Federal Credit Union can reassure our members that we DO NOT report credit card numbers to the Equifax bureau. So if you hold a credit card with us, your number has not been compromised through the Equifax breach.

How we safeguard against identity theft

Our member service and operations representatives are trained not to identify our members through personal information, such as what was stolen from Equifax.

To identify a member who calls, we ask “out-of-wallet” questions. These types of questions are inquiries on your account transactions, or a request for a phone password, which our members can prearrange with us at any time. In other words, information that you wouldn’t be carrying around in your wallet.

Our loan officers and new account representatives always check ID and establish identity, so loans and new accounts are not opened with fraudulent information.

To read more, start at Security & Fraud Prevention.

A few ways to protect yourself:

  1. Review your credit report. You are entitled to a free credit report every 12 months from each of the three major consumer reporting companies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). You can request a copy from AnnualCreditReport.com .
  2. Consider a security freeze. A security freeze or credit freeze on your credit report restricts access to your credit file. Creditors typically won’t offer you credit if they can’t access your credit reporting file, so a freeze prevents you and others from opening new accounts in your name. In almost all states, a freeze lasts until you remove it. In some states, it expires after seven years.
  3. Set up a fraud alert. Fraud alerts require that a financial institution verifies your identity before opening a new account, issuing an additional card, or increasing the credit limit on an existing account. A fraud alert won’t prevent lenders from opening new accounts in your name, but it will require that the lenders take additional identification verification steps to make sure that you’re making the request. An initial fraud alert only lasts for 90 days, so you may want to watch for when to renew it. You can also set up an extended alert for identity theft victims, which is good for seven years.

Read 10 Ways to Protect Your Personal Information from The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau