You have likely heard about the recent Equifax data breach, as this unfortunate event affects approximately 44% of Americans. Equifax was compromised and the personal information of approximately 143 million consumers was stolen. The information leaked may include:
- Consumer Names
- Social Security Numbers
- Driver's license numbers
This was NOT a compromise of Worthington Bank and no information was taken from our systems. We wanted to share this information about Equifax to ensure you are aware of the issue and take the proper precautions to reduce the chances of fraud and identify theft.
The following are tips for consumers to consider in reducing the risk or impact of data breaches.
- Check Credit Report Annually. Consumers are entitled by law to a free credit report from each of the credit reporting bureaus once a year. Go to: https://www.annualcreditreport.com or call 877.322.8228 and follow instructions to access the free credit reports. Note, this is the only truly free credit website authorized by the U.S. Federal Government. The free credit report will show all lines of credit and other obligations, along with other public data. It will not show the FICO score. A fee may apply to retrieve a FICO score from a credit provider or a credit bureau.
- Place a Security Freeze on Credit Reports. This protects against identity theft and the opening of fraudulent accounts with a consumer’s personal information. It will block an institution or lender from accessing a report, unless a pre-set PIN is provided to “thaw” the report; a credit report may be thawed at a particular bureau for a period of time or for a specific lender. Consumers must contact EACH of the bureaus listed below to place a Security Freeze. There may be a charge to place a freeze on, thaw or unfreeze a credit report.
- Place a Fraud Alert on Credit Reports. This requires potential creditors to contact the consumer and obtain permission to open new accounts or lines of credit. Consumers are allowed by law to report they are an identity theft victim and file a fraud alert every 90 days; with proper documentation such as a police report, the fraud alert period may be extended to seven years. Consumers need to contact only one of the credit bureaus listed below to place a Fraud Alert. That bureau is required to contact the other two.
- Monitor your Bank and Credit Card Accounts for Unusual Activity.
- File your taxes early. As soon as you have the tax information you need, file before a scammer can. Tax identity theft happens when someone uses your social security number to get a tax refund or a job. Respond right away to letters from the IRS.
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