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Cyber criminals have stolen 143 million credit records in the recent hacking scandal at big-three credit bureau Equifax. At this point you have to assume that the bad guys have highly personal information that they can use to trick you. You need to watch out for the following things:
- Phishing emails that claim to be from Equifax where you can check if your data was compromised (Go to their official site @ equifaxsecurity2017.com to check your status and for more instructions)
- Phishing emails that claim there is a problem with a credit card, your credit record, or other personal financial information
- Calls from scammers that claim they are from your bank or credit union
- Fraudulent charges on any credit card because your identity was stolen
Here are 5 things you can do to prevent identity theft:
- Check your credit reports via the free annualcreditreport.com
- Consider freezing your credit files at the three major credit bureaus Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Remember that generally it is not possible to sign up for credit monitoring services after a freeze is in place. Advice for how to file a freeze is available here on a state-by-state basis: consumersunion.org/research/security-freeze
- Sign up for credit monitoring (there are many companies providing that service including Equifax but we cannot recommend that)
- Check your bank and credit card statements for any unauthorized activity
- If you believe you may have been the victim of identity theft, here is a site where you can learn more about how to protect yourself: idtheftcenter.org. You can also call the center’s toll-free number (888-400-5530) for advice on how to resolve identify-theft issues. All of the center’s services are free.
The Federal Trade Commission has released also released the following statement regarding the breach: consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2017/09/equifax-data-breach-what-do
It’s important to stay extra vigilant during the Holidays to avoid falling victim to thieves, scammers, and identity theft. The 7 most common methods used during the season are:
- Package theft
- Data breaches
- Malicious links
- Counterfeit items/Online shopping scams
- Fake checks and free offers
- Gift card fraud
- Fake charities
Click to read more.
Stay up to date on the latest scams by visiting the Federal Trade Commission’s Scam Alerts page.
Many people are receiving automated phone calls from “First Bank Fraud Protection” with claims that their account may be frozen due to fraud. They instruct the listener to call a 1-800 number and provide their debit card or account number and their personal identification number (PIN). First Bank has confirmed that they are not making these calls and that the scammers may also be using other financial institution names. As a reminder, you should never provide your account number, passwords, or PINs to anyone that has contacted you via automated call, email, or pop-up message. If something seems suspicious, call our First Response Team at 314.434.4141 to verify its authenticity.
Target has just confirmed there was a security breach in its payment system which may have impacted 40 million credit and debit card accounts in the U.S. They have identified the time period of the breach between November 27th and December 15th of this year.
Commercial Bank is receiving daily reports of cards that may have been compromised and will be reissuing cards to each of those individuals or businesses. In the meantime, we strongly recommend everyone stay diligent in reviewing the activity on their account daily, especially if you have used a card at Target during that time period. If you notice any unusual activity on your account, please contact us immediately.