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Important Equifax breach information along with Cybersecurity Incident & Important Consumer Information.
We strongly advise customers to enroll in the complimentary identity theft protection and credit file monitoring services you will find at: https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/enroll/

What to do if you were hit by the Equifax breach 9/8/17

Elizabeth Weise

 SAN FRANCISCO — An estimated 143 million U.S. consumers could be affected by a cybersecurity attack carried out against Equifax, one of the nation’s three largest credit-reporting companies.Normally one of the first things victims are told to do is to go to a credit-reporting company and request their records to make sure that there are no unauthorized accounts or charges on their existing accounts.

This time around, experts suggest checking with Equifax rivals, Experian and TransUnion.

While there is no evidence of unauthorized activity in the Equifax credit reporting databases, the company said that there was potential unauthorized access to information it had stored from mid-May through July 2017. The information included names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some cases, driver’s license numbers.

The hackers also got  access to credit card numbers for roughly 209,000 consumers, plus certain dispute documents with personal identifying information for approximately 182,000 consumers, Equifax said.

In the wake of this breach, experts counsel several immediate actions:

BE EXTRA CAREFUL ABOUT EMAILS AND LINKS

Users should avoid clicking on links or downloading attachments from suspicious emails that claim to be updates from Equifax or connected to the breach.

Equifax will send paper mail to consumers whose credit card numbers or dispute documents with personally identifying information were impacted. It has also created a dedicated website for consumers to see if they were affected at http://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/. They can also call the Equifax call center at 866-447-7559.

Hackers often use news of big breaches to conduct “phishing” campaigns, sending official-looking emails that make it seem as if the affected company or other legitimate services are asking them to supply information or click through to a link to repair any damage.

When in doubt, call or email the company that appears to be sending the message separately, don’t go through the email you’ve been sent.

CHANGE PASSWORDS

Especially if you typically use similar passwords and security questions on multiple accounts, do this. Once hackers have access to ID and password information for one system, they routinely try the same combination against multiple other platforms to see which ones work, an easily automated process.

ENABLE TWO-FACTOR AUTHENTICATION

For the vast majority of victims who didn’t have credit information compromised, the biggest risk here is that a criminal uses this information to answer your “security questions” and reset your password.

That usually sends a password reset to your email account, so making sure that email account is secure should be your primary concern, said Nathaniel Gleicher, head of cybersecurity strategy for Illumio, and former director of cybersecurity policy for the White House under President Obama.

Two-factor authentication keeps them from doing that by sending a text message or call to the user’s phone with a code as a second verification step. The code which must be typed in before the account can be opened.

CHECK YOUR CREDIT CARD AND OTHER ACCOUNTS

Review your online accounts for suspicious activity. That includes banks, credit card companies and hotel and airline loyalty programs. Hackers frequently slice and dice information from large data breaches, selling groups of user information for specific companies on the dark web. Even the smallest accounts can be bundled together into a large group to be sold.

Make it a practice to turn your debit cards Off when not in use.
First Bank of Baldwin is excited to be one of the first Community Banks in Western Wisconsin to offer this advanced technology.
It’s your best defense against debit card fraud. Simply use the FBB Mobile App (or use Online Banking) to control turning your debit card off or on for greater security.*
This convenient control will keep your cards from unauthorized use in the event that someone has fraudulently captured your debit cards numbers.
We have seen many situations at our community bank, where a customer may not be aware that their debit card is being used by thieves to make online or in-store purchases. Please keep an eye on your transactions through your online statement and contact us if you see any fraudulent transactions.
Play it safe and download the app today, available on iTunes or the Google Play store.
*Turning your card Off only impacts future debit card (point of sale and ATM) transactions.  Any previously authorized transactions will be paid, and any recurring transactions you had previously set up will still occur.  Turning your card Off will not affect your checks, mobile, internet banking transfers or bill pay.
For more information please call 800-499-4362.

With the 2018 tax season underway, all customers should take extra precaution when filing their return to prevent their exposure to tax fraud.

“Fraudsters are using very clever tactics to get a hold of your personal information and submit false tax claims,” said Lisa Lyon, Retail Banking Director. “Consumers must be suspicious of any communication from the IRS – through email, text or social media – that requests personal information, and should keep a watchful eye out for missing W-2s and mail containing sensitive financial information.”

Tax identity fraud takes place when a criminal files a false tax return using a stolen Social Security number in order to fraudulently claim the refund. Identity thieves generally file false claims early in the year and victims are unaware until they file a return and learn one has already been filed in their name.

First Bank of Baldwin is offering the following tips to help prevent tax identity fraud:

  • File early. File your tax return as soon as you’re able giving criminals less time to use your information to file a false return.
  • File on a protected Wi-Fi network. If you’re using an online service to file your return, be sure you’re connected to a password-protected personal network. Avoid using public networks like a Wi-Fi hotspot at a coffee shop.
  • Use a secure mailbox. If you’re filing by mail, drop your tax return at the post office or an official postal box instead of your mailbox at home. Some criminals look for completed tax return forms in home mailboxes during tax season.
  • Find a tax preparer you trust. If you’re planning to hire someone to do your taxes, get recommendations and research a tax preparer thoroughly before handing over all of your financial information.
  • Shred what you don’t need. Once you’ve completed your tax return, shred the sensitive documents that you no longer need and safely file away the ones you do.
  • Beware of phishing scams by email, text or phone. Scammers may try to solicit sensitive information by impersonating the IRS. Know that the IRS will not contact you by email, text or social media. If the IRS needs information, they will contact you by mail first.
  • Keep an eye out for missing mail. Fraudsters look for W-2s, tax refunds or other mail containing your financial information. If you don’t receive your W-2s, and your employer indicates they’ve been mailed, or it looks like it has been previously opened upon delivery, contact the IRS immediately.

If you believe you’re a victim of tax identity theft or if the IRS denies your tax return because one has previously been filed under your name, alert the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 1-800-908-4490. In addition, you should:

  • Respond immediately to any IRS notice and complete IRS Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit.
  • Contact your bank immediately, and close any accounts opened without your permission or tampered with.
  • Contact the three major credit bureaus to place a fraud alert on your credit records:
  • Continue to pay your taxes and file your tax return, even if you must do so by paper.

More information about tax identity theft is available from the FTC at ftc.gov/taxidtheft and the IRS at irs.gov/identitytheft.