If you have established credit, there is a high probability that you were affected by the data breach at Equifax. According to Equifax, which is one of the country’s three credit reporting bureaus, the breach lasted from mid-May through July and affected 143 million consumers. Although some of the records were from the UK and Canada, there is still a good chance that you were affected. The hackers accessed people’s names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and driver’s license numbers. They also stole credit card numbers for about 209,000 people and dispute documents with personal identifying information for about 182,000 people.
How can I find out if I was affected?
Equifax has created a portal on their website to help consumers find out if their records were compromised. You can get to the website by clicking here. Once you complete the inquiry, the site will prompt you to register for TrustedID. Because Equifax was compromised, the safe best is to not put any unnecessary information back into their site. You do not need to complete this action, regardless of the outcome of the test. Guaranty Bank offers a monitoring system that will provide protection for the future through its Freedom Checking account.
What to do next?
Enroll in Fraud Alert– A fraud alert program is a system that is tied to your account that will notify you when suspicious activity occurs. Whether it is your bank account, your credit card, or other banking account, a fraud alert or monitoring system should be activated. Settings can be turned up or down based upon your own preferences. Contact your financial institution for information.
Con artists may contact you – Historically, fraudsters will take advantage of customer awareness during a large breach and pose as your bank to gain information. If someone does call you, ask to call them back at the number for your local branch. You can also tell them you would be happy to sit down and talk to them face-to-face and ask to make an appointment. Guaranty Bank will never ask you for your account number, your PIN, or your social security number on a phone call. The only information Guaranty Bank will request is a valid e mail or phone number.
Check your credit reports – You can access your credit report through a number of different sources, including Guaranty Bank. At Guaranty Bank, you can sign up for IDProtect, which will monitor your Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit files daily, and automatically alert you if key changes occur. It is also possible to obtain your credit report and look for suspicious activity. If you suspect activity, contact your financial institution immediately.
Place a freeze on your credit – If you are not planning on making any major purchases within the next 6-12 months, it is a good idea to put a freeze on your credit. This simply means that no one will be able to apply for new credit using your information (this includes you). To activate the “freeze”, you will need to call each of the three credit reporting bureaus to make the request.
Monitor your bank accounts – Read your monthly statements or log into online banking to check recent activity on a fairly frequent basis. If you suspect fraudulent activity on your bank accounts, you may want to request all new credit and debit cards, as well as changing all of your passwords and PINs.
Watch your insurance – Because the hackers were able to obtain social security numbers as well as drivers license numbers, it is possible to steal your medical identity. Signs of medical ID theft include:
- a bill for medical services you didn’t receive
- a call from a debt collector about a medical debt you don’t owe
- medical collection notices on your credit report that you don’t recognize
- a notice from your health plan saying you reached your benefit limit
- a denial of insurance because your medical records show a condition you don’t have
If you have any questions please call your local branch or contact Guaranty Bank at 662-247-1452.