Equifax Data Breach: Information & Guidance for WST Clients
As news circulates of the recent Equifax data breach, our goal is to ensure you are aware of the situation and equipped with accurate information and trusted risk management resources. Equifax estimates that 143 million US consumers were impacted by the incident, and we believe it’s safest to act under the suspicion that you and your family were affected by the breach.WST is not affiliated with Equifax, nor do we offer credit monitoring or security services. We have prepared the following recommendations solely for informational purposes, based on guidance issued to consumers by Equifax. We encourage all clients to consider taking these steps as soon as possible.
Step 1: Evaluate Impact to Your Information
A visit to https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/am-i-impacted/ , a site set up by Equifax in response to the incident, will allow you to ascertain whether or not your information is believed to have been compromised in the breach. The search requires your last name and the last six digits of your Social Security Number. We should note some media reports indicating that this information is not totally reliable, and it may be safest to assume that your information was compromised.
Step 2: Consider Credit Monitoring Services
Equifax is offering, at no charge, one year of monitoring, insurance and fraud assistance to all consumers, regardless of whether or not their information was impacted by the breach. In the site linked above, consumers will be offered the option to enroll on this service after performing the SSN search. Consumers will not be automatically enrolled for monitoring after the 1-year period expires.
Consumers have many options for credit monitoring, and WST does not endorse any particular service. We do, however, encourage clients to consider taking advantage of Equifax’s free offer, particularly while weighing other options for long-term protection.
Step 3: Review Recent Bank & Credit Card Activity
We recommend that clients immediately review accounts for suspicious activity, focusing on the period June 2017-present. Such activity often involves small-dollar transactions that - if undetected by consumers, banks or monitoring services – embolden criminals to make larger purchases. We recommend that clients make a routine habit of auditing their accounts, and we suggest they take advantage of mobile banking applications that will push instant notifications for certain types of, or all, transactions.
Step 4: Consider a Credit Freeze
If you do not plan on applying for a loan or any new line of credit any time soon, you might consider placing a freeze on your credit. This step ensures no new accounts can be opened in your name without written permission. You can take this action by alerting any one of the three credit bureaus - Equifax, TransUnion, or Experian – who are in turn required to notify the others.
We welcome you to follow up with us about any and all concerns. Cyber-security is a critical, constantly evolving initiative at WST, and awareness and education are an important part of our effort to serve our clients. Feel free to reply to this email or call us toll free at 1-800-229-3677 or locally at 757-623-3676 with your thoughts and comments.
Besides attributed information, this material is proprietary and may not be reproduced, transferred or distributed in any form without prior written permission from WST. WST reserves the right at any time and without notice to change, amend, or cease publication of the information. This material has been prepared solely for informative purposes. The information contained herein may include information that has been obtained from third party sources and has not been independently verified. It is made available on an “as is” basis without warranty. This document is intended for clients for informational purposes only and should not be otherwise disseminated to other third parties. Past performance or results should not be taken as an indication or guarantee of future performance or results, and no representation or warranty, express or implied is made regarding future performance or results. This document does not constitute an offer to sell, or a solicitation of an offer to purchase, any security, future or other financial instrument or product.