Equifax, a major credit reporting agency, recently announced a cybersecurity breach potentially impacting approximately 143 million U.S. consumers. Based on the company’s investigation, the unauthorized access occurred from mid-May through July 2017. Please be assured that AmeriCU’s systems were NOT compromised. We have the highest level of security possible and take every precaution to safeguard and protect your accounts and personal information.
Equifax has established a dedicated website, www.equifaxsecurity2017.com, to help consumers determine if their information has been potentially impacted and to sign up for one year of complimentary credit file monitoring and identity theft protection. The website also provides additional information on steps consumers can take to protect their personal information. In addition to the website, Equifax will send direct mail notices to consumers whose credit card numbers or dispute documents with personal identifying information were impacted. You may also contact Equifax directly at 1.866.447.7559 with any questions.
Please note: AmeriCU will NEVER contact you by phone or email and ask you to verify your account details such as debit or credit card numbers, social security number, and/or passwords. If you receive such an email/text message/phone call, please contact us immediately and DO NOT provide any information to the sender.
Could AmeriCU have prevented this incident?
AmeriCU has no control over how other companies store your information. Every company has an obligation to make every attempt to protect sensitive consumer information by ensuring their systems are secure. At this time, we recommend that all members monitor their account activity frequently for suspicious transactions. If you have not done so already, please take advantage of our online & mobile banking services which will allow you to check your account activity frequently and set up transaction and fraud alerts to receive text and/or email notification of activity on your account(s). If you notice any suspicious transactions or have any questions, please contact AmeriCU Credit Union immediately at 1.800.388.2000.
How do I protect my credit reports?
If you’re concerned about someone gaining access to your credit report without your permission, you may consider placing a fraud alert or credit freeze on your report(s). Even with a fraud alert or freeze, you should still actively monitor your accounts for fraudulent transactions.
Credit Report Fraud Alerts: When you have a fraud alert on your report, businesses must first verify your identity before issuing credit. The initial alerts lasts for 90 days and can be renewed. To place a fraud alert on your report, contact one of the nationwide credit reporting companies (the company you contact must share the alert information with the other companies) and ask for the company to put a fraud alert on your credit file. This service is free to consumers.
For more information, visit the Federal Trade Commission’s consumer information on Fraud Alerts.
Credit Freeze: A credit freeze restricts access to your credit report, making it more difficult for identity thieves to open new accounts in your name. A credit freeze does not prevent you from getting your free annual credit report, keep you from opening a new account, applying for a job, renting an apartment, or buying insurance. But if you’re doing any of these, you’ll need to lift the freeze temporarily, either for a specific time or for a specific party, say, a potential landlord or employer. The cost and lead times to lift a freeze vary, so it’s best to check with the credit reporting company in advance. A freeze also does not prevent a thief from making charges to your existing accounts. You still need to monitor all bank, credit card and insurance statements for fraudulent transactions.
To place a freeze on your credit report(s):
Contact each of the nationwide credit reporting companies:
Equifax — 1.800.349.9960
Experian — 1.888.397.3742
TransUnion — 1.888.909.8872
Innovis — 1.800.540.2505
You’ll need to supply your name, address, date of birth, Social Security number and other personal information. Fees vary based on where you live, but commonly range from $5 to $10.
After receiving your freeze request, each credit reporting company will send you a confirmation letter containing a unique PIN (personal identification number) or password. Keep the PIN or password in a safe place. You will need it if you choose to lift the freeze.
To lift a freeze on your credit report(s):
In a few states, credit freezes expire after seven years. In the vast majority of states, a freeze remains in place until you ask the credit reporting company to temporarily lift it or remove it altogether. A credit reporting company must lift a freeze no later than three business days after getting your request. The cost to lift a freeze varies by state.
If you opt for a temporary lift because you are applying for credit or a job, and you can find out which credit reporting company the business will contact for your file, you can save some money by lifting the freeze only at that particular company.
For more information, visit the Federal Trade Commission’s consumer information on freezing credit.