Recent Equifax Data Breach and Identity Safeguards
On September 7, 2017, Equifax, one of the three major credit bureaus, announced that it had experienced a massive data breach. The hackers accessed people’s names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers.
Equifax created a special website to provide information about the incident: https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/. If you are interested in finding out if your information has potentially been compromised, click on "Read More," then scroll to the bottom of the page and click on “Potential Impact.” You will then be prompted to enter some personal information and the site will tell you if you’ve been affected. Be sure you’re on a secure network (not public Wi-Fi) when you submit sensitive data over the internet.
WSFS is serious about safeguarding your personal information. In the wake of recent data breaches, there are precautionary steps everyone should consider to help protect against identify theft and fraud:
- Establish a Unique Customer Identifier for Your Relationship – We can assist you in setting this unique identifier that allows us to positively identify you when you call in or ask us to complete a transaction for you via phone. Please call us at 1‐888‐WSFSBANK (1‐888‐973‐7226) to learn more about this option.
- Review Credit Report at Least Once a Year – Your credit report contains your personal information and any loans or lines of credit that are currently open. If someone has used your name or social security number to open any loans or lines of credit without your knowledge, it will be shown on the credit report. It is important to review your credit report to monitor your financial stability and report any inaccuracies so they can be resolved. You can access your free annual credit reports by visiting: https://www.annualcreditreport.com.
- Credit Monitoring – Consider enrolling in a credit monitoring or ID theft protection service. Please keep in mind that these services do generally have a monthly fee. You should read all terms and conditions of the service to understand your rights and obligations.
- Fraud Alert – If you are concerned about a data breach you can place a fraud alert on your credit through all three credit bureaus. A fraud alert makes it harder to open accounts with your information because businesses must verify your identity before issuing credit. These alerts are temporary and generally last for 90 days, so they must be renewed. You can access more information about placing a fraud alert by visiting: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0275-place-fraud-alert.
- Credit Freeze – You might also consider placing a credit freeze with all three credit bureaus. When there is a freeze, creditors cannot access your reporting file and therefore won’t offer new credit. This helps prevent identity thieves from opening fraudulent accounts in your name. However, this also means you won’t be able to apply for credit as easily if you were planning to open a new account or apply for a loan. For more information, please visit: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0497-credit-freeze-faqs
- Watch Out for Scams Related to the Breach – Do not trust emails that appear to come from Equifax regarding the breach. Attackers are likely to take advantage of the situation and craft sophisticated phishing emails.
- Monitor Bills & Statements Monthly – It is important that you review your bills and bank/credit card statements every month for discrepancies in your purchases, purchase amounts and balances. You can use online and mobile banking to keep a close eye on your accounts in between your monthly statements. The sooner you discover and report your findings, the better the possibility of locating the source of the breach.
For further information on the Equifax data breach and to assess whether you may have been affected, you may find the following websites helpful: