Cybersecurity Incident with Equifax
As you are probably aware, Equifax recently announced a large data breach of their system that is projected to impact over 143 million customers. While this was not a breach of MN Catholic’s systems, we understand that this incident is concerning to our Members.
MCCU does report loan data to Equifax, but we do not include driver’s license or credit card numbers or any Debit card information. Therefore criminals will not have the capability to withdraw funds from a checking account due to this breach. To be clear, this was a devastating breach. It was not like merchant breaches where card numbers were stolen. This time it was credit bureau data that included consumer social security numbers, addresses, accounts and birth dates. That means the window of opportunity for crooks to steal identities extends for years into the future.
Affected members are at risk from criminals using stolen information to fraudulently open accounts. This means that the most pressing and immediate threat with this breach is identity theft. While in the Hurricane Relief email of last week I warned against clicking on a link in any email, I am concerned that without providing links now, many members would not get to the right website. So the steps you need to take now are:
- Find out if your information was compromised by visiting Equifax’s website. Equifax has a tool that can help determine whether your data has been exposed. Then, follow the steps laid out to enroll in their free fraud monitoring service.
- Consider putting a freeze on your file. For more information on credit Freeze, click FTC Credit Freeze FAQs.
- If you do put a freeze on, you will want to contact Trans Union and Experian, the other two credit reporting services to put a credit freeze on your file with each of them.
Here are some additional steps you should take to protect your identity:
- DO NOT respond to email, text or telephone calls claiming to be from Equifax asking for personal or financial information. They will not be proactively reaching out to affected people. However, once you start the process with them, they will follow up with you by email.
- Visit the Commerce website which offers practical tips for consumers explaining what you can do to prevent identity theft and protect sensitive personal information from being misused.
- If fraud has occurred, place a fraud alert with all 3 credit bureaus.
- Enroll in Verified by VISA Secure on all of your Credit and Debit cards.
We are continuing to monitor the effects of this breach and will follow up with you as more information becomes available. We are working closely with CUNA and other credit union associations as well as the Minnesota Department of Commerce on how best to approach these matters.