Equifax Data Breach – What You Need to Know

On September 7, 2017, credit reporting agency, Equifax, reported a major cybersecurity incident that resulted in the compromise of personal data for at least 143 million consumers. Here’s what you need to know:
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How do I know if I am affected?
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  • Virtually all financial institutions, including Public Safety Credit Union, report  loan information to Equifax, so it is likely that many of our members are affected.
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  • You can go to https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/ to see if you have been affected..

What type of information was potentially compromised?.

  • Equifax reports that name, social security number, birth date, address information and possibly drivers’ license data were compromised.
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  • Equifax has NOT indicated that Credit Union account numbers were compromised.
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  • Additionally, credit card numbers were compromised for about 200,000 consumers. This will likely only affect members that had provided their credit card directly to Equifax for services, such as credit monitoring, etc.

.What can I do to limit my risk?.

  • Keep a close eye on your accounts using GKCPSCU’s mobile banking and Mobimoney apps. Vigilance is the best weapon.
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  • Use alerts in our online banking system to keep you in-the-know when activity occurs on your account.
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  • Make sure your contact information is current with the Credit Union, so you don’t miss any alerts or messages from us.
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  • Go to www.annualcreditreport.com to check your own credit report. You can do this for free one time a year.
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  • If you have paid for services directly from Equifax, you may want to have your credit card blocked and re-issued.
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  • You may want to consider a credit monitoring service. Equifax is offering free monitoring service to consumers, whether or not they have been impacted by this breach. Please note that there are many credit monitoring services, and the Credit Union does not endorse any one over another.
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  • You may also want to consider placing a security freeze on your credit report. This will NOT guarantee protection from fraud, but it will reduce the likelihood of a fraudster applying for credit in your name. Keep in mind, it will also keep YOU from applying from credit until you unfreeze your report.

9/7/17 Additional comment
It appears that Equifax has incorporated language into the “Terms of Use” when you sign up for the “free” year of credit monitoring that attempts to force you to agree to waive your right to participate in any class action suit over this breach. We recommend that you do not use this service!

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Tips for Securely Using Online Banking

For members of the Greater KC Public Safety Credit Union:

  1. User Name. With our new online banking system, you can define your own user name. Choose wisely! Don’t select an easy to guess name like “bill_and_wanda”. Instead choose something like “dogcatmilwaukee44”. Usernames can be up to 20 characters.
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  2. Use LONG complex passwords. They don’t have to be hard to remember or random. Use phrases if that is helpful. For example, don’t try to remember “Mg7&53jfi!”. Instead try something like “wewenttoDenverlastsummer2011”.
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  3. Challenge questions. Do NOT select a question/answer combination that is commonly known. I recommend memorizing answers that are not the correct answer to the question. For example, if the question is “in what city were you born”, instead of the actual answer, you might choose something like “applesauce”. Guessing security question answers are a common way to hack accounts.
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  4. Don’t let your computer remember your password. Just not a great idea. Avoid this for better security.
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  5. Current Contact Info. Make sure the Credit Union has your correct contact info so we can alert you when suspicious activity occurs. In Online Banking, click the “Contact Information” menu button to see the contact info that the Credit Union has on file for you.
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  6. Use Alerts! Our online banking system will allow you to receive an alert every time anyone logs into your account, but you have to enable it.
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    To do that in online banking,

    • Click the “Messages & Alerts” menu item.
    • Click “Manage Alerts”
    • Click the slider button to turn on “Login Alert”
    • Then click the “Login Alert” link and choose whether you’d rather receive an email or text alert.
    • While you’re in the alerts menu, look around and enable any other alerts that may help you manage and secure your accounts! I recommend enabling the following:
      • Secure Message Alert
      • Change in Contact Info Alert
      • Login Credential Change Alert
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  7. Avoid accessing online banking from public computers and wi-fi networks. Sometimes it’s hard to avoid, but when you can, avoid using other people’s equipment to access your accounts. If you do find it necessary, I recommend changing your passwords (and even your username) afterwards.
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  8. Enable “Challenge Question Each Login”. In online banking, click “Additional Services” from the menu and click the slider button to enable this feature. Once enabled, you will be prompted to answer one of your challenge questions every time you login to Online Banking.
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  9. Use One-Time PIN Authentication. If you really want to lock down your accounts, click “Additional Services” from the menu and click the slider button to enable this feature. Once enabled, you will have to enter an emailed PIN each time you login.
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  10. Periodically check event logs. It’s a good idea to check your built-in event log periodically to make sure nothing looks suspicious to you, especially if you have reason to believe you’ve been hacked. To see it in Online Banking, click the “Settings” menu item, and then “Event Logs”.
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Let us know if you have questions about any of these security measures!