You may have never used Equifax yourself, however, the credit reporting agency could still have your personal information. Equifax is one of three nationwide credit-reporting companies that track and rate the financial history of U.S. consumers. It gets its data from credit card companies, banks, retailers, and lenders.
Equifax announced Thursday that 143 million people could be affected by a recent data breach in which cybercriminals stole information including names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and the numbers of some driver's licenses. Additionally, credit card numbers for about 209,000 people were exposed, as was "personal identifying information" on roughly 182,000 customers involved in credit report disputes.
Equifax will not be contacting everyone who was affected, but will send direct mail notices to those whose credit card numbers or dispute records were accessed.
Equifax suggests you sign up for credit file monitoring and identity theft protection, which it is providing free for one year through TrustedID Premier
-- whether or not you've been affected by the breach. To enroll, go to www.equifaxsecurity2017.com
and click on the Check Potential Impact tab. You must submit your last name and last six digits of your Social Security number there. At that point you'll be given a date when you can return to the site and sign up for the service.
First National Bank and Trust strongly recommends you take action:
- Review account and credit card statements yourself to check for incidents of fraud. Take note of small, but suspicious, charges. Thieves may charge small amounts to see if account holders notice and, if not, will continue using the card.
- Request a copy of your credit reports online at www.annualcreditreport.com. You are allowed a free copy once a year from each of the three credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. This will help you determine if unauthorized accounts have been opened in your name.
- Be on guard for suspicious emails or phone calls that try to trick you into disclosing personal information. With a data breach of this scale, many of us will receive emails and calls that claim to be from Equifax or our banks or creditors or law enforcement, and ask us to click on links or fill out forms or provide even more personal information.
- Learn simple tips and tools you can use to reduce your risk of identity theft and protect your financially sensitive information. Our short identity protection interactive course will equip you with important knowledge regarding consumer fraud and identity theft, prevention and protection tips, and how to respond to identity theft.
If you suspect fraud, contact us immediately by calling 800-667-4401, sending a secure message within online banking, or visiting your nearest branch.