Equifax Data Breach
Date: September 20, 2017
Recently, Equifax, one of the three national consumer credit reporting agencies, announced a major data breach. This breach affects approximately 143 million Americans. To be clear, your personal information maintained with VISIONBank was not compromised and your information was not taken from our systems. According to Equifax, the data breach occurred May – July 2017, and the information leaked may include consumers’ personally identifiable information such as, Social Security numbers, dates of birth, addresses and, in some cases, driver’s license numbers.
As a community bank, VISIONBank prides itself on knowing its clients and recognizing activity that is outside the normal course of business. Over time, we have successfully recognized or helped clients recognize attempted fraud and stopped it before it occurred. To best protect your account, both VISIONBank and you, our client, must work together to monitor and protect against fraud to keep accounts safe and secure.
LET’S WORK TOGETHER!
Here is what WE do…
VISIONBank’s first priority is protecting our customers’ personal information and we take this very seriously. We employ strong security measures that comply with federal law to protect your personal information. Some of these measures include:
- Computer Information Systems Safeguards – We implement stringent Cybersecurity safeguards and encryption systems along with consistent testing to protect our systems.
- Safely Secured Files – Sensitive documents are stored under lock and key, both physically and electronically.
- Physical, Electronic and Procedural Safeguards – VISIONBank has clearly defined policies and procedures in place to guard your personal information.
- Debit Card Transaction Fraud Monitoring – Our Debit Card Fraud Monitoring system reviews your normal card usage to determine abnormal or unusual account activity. If any transaction is considered out of the norm or suspicious, one of our professional fraud analysts will personally call you to assist in verifying the transaction. If you indicate that you did not authorize the transaction, your card will immediately be blocked to prevent further fraud.
Here is what YOU can do…
VISIONBank provides the following tools to assist you in actively monitoring your account:
- VISIONBank Mobile Banking – Review all of your account activity in one place 24/7 along with the option to set low balance alerts.
- VISIONOnline – Our online banking product allows you the ability to review and manage your account activity 24/7 and set low balance alerts; visit www.visionbanks.com to get started.
- Account and Card Alerts – Online banking transaction alerts based on any amount you choose, including alerts specific to debit cards.
- Debit Card On/Off Feature – Avoid unauthorized charges by turning your debit card “off” via Online Banking with just a click of a button.
- Bill Pay Alerts – You may choose to be notified each time a new payee is added and each time a bill payment is scheduled.
VISIONBank recommends you consider the following additional ways to protect your information:
- Review your account statements to spot any suspicious transactions. If you notice any suspicious activity, please contact us immediately at 701-364-2020 or toll free at 877-857-2020 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Be on guard of attempts to gain your personal financial information through email, text, or phone calls.
- Consider placing an initial fraud alert on your credit report. A fraud alert will notify any third parties that you may be victim of identity theft. Third parties will be required to take certain steps to verify your identity such as contacting you by phone before opening a new account. For more information on fraud alerts please visit: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0275-place-fraud-alert.
- Consider placing a freeze on your credit file. A credit freeze locks down your credit and restricts access to your credit report by third parties. To be effective, you must place a freeze with all three credit reporting agencies — Equifax, Transunion and Experian. To determine if a credit freeze is right for your situation, learn more at: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0497-credit-freeze-faqs.
- Review your credit reports for accuracy. Unfamiliar accounts or activity could indicate identity theft. You are entitled to one free report from each credit bureau once per year. Call any one of the three credit reporting agencies to receive your free annual credit report or visit: annualcreditreport.gov.
- If you suspect you are a victim of fraud, please contact VISIONBank immediately and the three credit reporting agencies listed below.
|Experian ®||Transunion ®||Equifax ®|
|PO Box 9554||PO Box 2000||PO Box 740241|
|Allen, TX 75013||Chester, PA 19016||Atlanta, GA 30374|
Equifax has set up a dedicated call center, which you can contact at 866-447-7559. Check if you are affected and consider enrolling in the free identity protection offered by Equifax by following this link: https://trustedidpremier.com/eligibility/eligibility.html.
Further information is available at www.equifaxsecurity2017.com.
The Federal Trade Commission also offers general information to protect your online presence at https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/topics/privacy-identity-online-security. You may contact the FTC to obtain additional information about avoiding identity theft.
Federal Trade Commission, Consumer Response Center
600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20580; 1-877-IDTHEFT (438-4338)
We encourage you to contact us with any questions you might have. We stand ready to work with you to protect your information. By choosing a community bank, you have a partner that both knows you and your family and has the tools to safeguard your information.
Toll Free: 877-857-2020
I’ve been hearing about the Equifax breach in the news. What happened?
Equifax, one of the three major credit bureaus, 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. They also stole credit card numbers for about 209,000 people and dispute documents with personal identifying information for about 182,000 people.
Was my information accessed?
If you have a credit report, there’s a good chance it was. Go to a special website set up by Equifax to find out: https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on “Potential Impact,” 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.
What is a credit freeze?
Also known as a security freeze, this tool lets you restrict access to your credit report, which in turn makes it more difficult for identity thieves to open new accounts in your name. That’s because most creditors need to see your credit report before they approve a new account. If they can’t see your file, they may not extend the credit.
Does a credit freeze affect my credit score?
No. A credit freeze does not affect your credit score.
A credit freeze also 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.
- 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.
Does a credit freeze stop prescreened credit offers?
No. If you want to stop getting prescreened offers of credit, call 888-5OPTOUT (888-567-8688) or go online. The phone number and website are operated by the nationwide credit reporting companies. You can opt out for five years or permanently. However, some companies send offers that are not based on prescreening, and your federal opt-out right will not stop those kinds of solicitations.
As you consider opting out, you should know that prescreened offers can provide many benefits, especially if you are in the market for a credit card or insurance. Prescreened offers can help you learn about what’s available, compare costs, and find the best product for your needs. Because you are pre-selected to receive the offer, you can be turned down only under limited circumstances. The terms of prescreened offers also may be more favorable than those that are available to the general public. In fact, some credit card or insurance products may be available only through prescreened offers.
Can anyone see my credit report if it is frozen?
Certain entities still will have access to it.
- your report can be released to your existing creditors or to debt collectors acting on their behalf.
- government agencies may have access in response to a court or administrative order, a subpoena, or a search warrant.
How do I place a freeze on my credit reports?
Contact each of the nationwide credit reporting companies:
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.
How do I lift a freeze?
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.
What’s the difference between a credit freeze and a fraud alert?
A credit freeze locks down your credit. A fraud alert allows creditors to get a copy of your credit report as long as they take steps to verify your identity. For example, if you provide a telephone number, the business must call you to verify whether you are the person making the credit request. Fraud alerts may be effective at stopping someone from opening new credit accounts in your name, but they may not prevent the misuse of your existing accounts. You still need to monitor all bank, credit card and insurance statements for fraudulent transactions.