In the aftermath of the Equifax data breach, announced in the fall of 2017, we have a better understanding of what it means to live in a heightened state of vulnerability. Data breaches and cyber-attacks are a threat that we now live with every day, and they're becoming more frequent. If you have a credit history, it's possible you were affected by the Equifax breach, along with nearly half of all Americans. Credit card numbers, Social Security numbers, driver's licenses, and other information associated with your personal identity may have been taken.
It's important to know what Equifax has done in response to the massive cybersecurity incident. It's also important that you take proactive steps to protect yourself from becoming a victim so you can gain some control over your personal security despite this increased vulnerability.
What Equifax Has Done
Equifax sent direct mail notices to individuals whose credit card numbers or dispute records were accessed. Equifax also set up a website that notifies you if you were affected and gives you the option to sign up for one year of free credit monitoring. Their offer includes identity theft insurance, internet scanning for Social Security numbers and tips to protect your personal information. But be sure to read the fine print before you sign up.
Safeguarding Your Personal Information
The CNN article, Equifax data breach: What you need to know, is a good source for information related to the incident. You can also visit the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) website for tips to protect your credit.
The Equifax breach did not affect or compromise the BECU website or our online banking platform. It's important to be vigilant and to protect your personal data as much as possible. The best action you can take to safeguard your personal information is to regularly review your credit report to make sure there's nothing that shouldn't be there because credit reporting agencies directly influence your ability to get credit.
You can request a free credit report once per year from each of the three major credit reporting agencies. This means you can check your credit report every four months at no cost to you. To learn more about how to secure your personal information and protect yourself from cybersecurity, visit our Security page.