For goodness sake! It seems that we cannot turn around without hearing about another security “breach” that impacts the security of our personal identity information. When will this stop!?! Probably never, and it seems like any organization can be a target.
The recent Equifax breach is also the largest, affecting an estimated 143 million Americans. That is over half of all Americans over the age of 18. This hack apparently captured Social Security Numbers (SSN), addresses, and birth dates. This very sensitive information is a gold mine for fraudsters.
What do we need to know?
Firstly, it is important to know that Dane County Credit Union does not report credit files to Equifax. We use Transunion as our credit bureau, which is the most prevalent bureau in Wisconsin. But Equifax could still have our individual information since many other creditors report to them. So it’s important to be vigilant about where our information may be turning up to be used fraudulently.
We are in this together
Just as you need to be diligent about who may be calling or emailing you, so does your credit union. If someone calls or emails and claims to be one of our members, we need to make sure that we verify their identity. We’ll need to be creative to ask questions that only you would know. We can set up personal passwords on an account as well, but we would prefer to have you come in to do so to make sure it is actually you.
What else can we do?
One recommendation that experts are making is to freeze your credit report. You should be aware that unless you show that you are a victim of identity theft that you will have to pay $10 to have your credit frozen (and released as well). Contact information for the 4 credit bureaus is:
|Bureau||Phone-Freeze||Email for Freeze|
If our information is now in the wrong hands, we need to stay alert to where it may be being used. One way to do this is to set up fraud alerts with the credit bureaus. A fraud alert requires potential creditors to contact the consumer for permission to open new accounts. Fraud alerts are good for 90 days and then need to be renewed (exceptions for ID theft victims). To set up a fraud alert see the contact information below. For each credit bureau except Innovis, you can ask anyone of the three to notify the other two that you want to set up a fraud alert.
|Bureau||Phone-Alert||Email for Fraud Alert|
Other helpful steps
Don’t forget to check your credit report annually at www.annualcreditreport.com or 877-322-8228. Do this every 3 months at one of the four bureaus so you can keep a more frequent check.
At DCCU, The Hub is a great tool where you can aggregate or view all your financial accounts – even those not at DCCU – to monitor for suspicious activity.
You can also set up email or text alerts for your DCCU accounts. We have a number of other tools that can help you track account and debit card activity such as the mobile app, ebanking and Card Valet. Any of our expert Member Service Representatives can assist you with these.
Always, always, always
Be wary, be alert, and be skeptical. Don’t give out your information freely; change your passwords, use strong passwords, look at your account statements, don’t click on suspicious links, if something looks too good to be true, it probably is. Call your credit union first!
Your credit union is here to assist you with any questions you may have. Please feel free to reach out to us if you see, hear or receive any contacts that you consider fishy. We are here to help. Thank you for your membership.