In light of the recent Equifax security breach—which compromised the personal information of as many as 143 million Americans—we wanted to alert you to steps you can take to ensure your identity is protected. Here’s what you need to know.
Equifax Inc., one of the three major credit reporting agencies, reported that from mid-May through July 2017, unauthorized access to consumer files was gained. The information included names, social security numbers, birth dates, addresses, drivers’ license numbers, some credit card numbers and some dispute documents with personal information.
What is the potential impact?
Criminals could use the information retrieved to open new accounts or gain access to existing accounts.
What should I do now?
Visit equifaxsecurity2017.com to assess your personal potential impact and, if you wish, enroll in the recommended credit monitoring and theft protection program, a free credit monitoring service.
**Sept. 11, 2017 – Update:
Originally, Equifax said anyone who signs up for this program, TrustedID, waives his or her right to sue or benefit from a class-action settlement. However, the company updated its position over the weekend after public pressure. Now, it is offering an opt-out provision—but customers must still notify Equifax within 30 days of starting the program to get out of the arbitration. It should also be noted that Equifax is offering to monitor affected customers’ credit scores, but not to help fix credit scores that may have been negatively affected by the attack.
Are there other steps I can take to protect myself?
We recommend putting a freeze on all of your credit files, which will prevent the unauthorized opening of accounts. Please note:
- Executing a freeze with one credit bureau will NOT automatically update the others. You must contact each bureau separately.
- You can easily unfreeze your credit report when needed.
- It is very important that you keep your PINs in a safe place. If you lose them, it can be a complicated process to get them back.
Additionally, you may wish to check with your insurance carrier to see if you have identity theft coverage through homeowner’s insurance, excess liability (“Umbrella”) insurance or a separate policy. Coverage varies but can include resolution services, reimbursement of related expenses, etc.
How do I initiate credit freezes?
There are online or over-the-phone options for each bureau. Contact information for each is below, and step-by-step instructions can be found here.
Equifax | 1-800-685-1111 | www.freeze.equifax.com
Experian | 1-888-397-3742 | www.experian.com/freeze/center.html
TransUnion | 1-888-909-8872 | www.transunion.com/securityfreeze
Innovis | 1-800-540-2505 | www.innovis.com/personal/securityFreeze
Should you want a more detailed description of what freezing and thawing your credit files entails, this article does a good job of providing a comprehensive analysis.
For additional suggestions on safeguarding your information, click here.
Are your accounts with Plancorp safe?
Plancorp has implemented a number of internal procedures to safeguard your information, based in part on a relationship with a national cyber security consultant. Our staff is extremely alert to the signs of possible fraudulent activity, and goes to great lengths to verify the identity of anyone asking that a transaction be made on their behalf. For example, even if we are completely confident an email request for a wire or money movement comes from you, we still call you every time to verify that you placed it.
As you know, Plancorp does not take physical custody of client assets, which are held at Charles Schwab, Fidelity Investments and TD Ameritrade. Each of these custodians takes ongoing measures to protect their clients’ information and the integrity of clients’ accounts. Each custodian participates in the SIPC program, providing insurance protection against missing customer property following closure of a securities firm. In addition, each custodian has obtained additional protection over and above the limits required by the government. For more on each custodian’s security measures, click below.
Security breaches are always disconcerting, but we wanted to assure you that the safety of your personal information is a top priority to us. If you’d like more information on further steps you can take to protect yourself, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your Client Service Representative.
-Your Plancorp Team