Scam Alert – Equifax Data Breach

Scam Alert Equifax Data Breach

Equifax, one of the nation’s three major consumer credit-reporting agencies, recently announced a major data breach that could affect about 143 million American customers.  Because Equifax is used by many businesses which conduct credit checks, the potential impact is huge.  Equifax is used by landlords, utility companies, potential employers as well as lenders to verify credit histories.  We do not know if any of our customers’ data has been compromised as a result of this breach, but we want to make sure that you are aware.  You can confirm whether you are at risk by going to this website, and by watching for information from Equifax.

Equifax has indicated that from mid-May through July of this year hackers gained access to customers’ names, Social Security numbers, birthdates, addresses and some driver’s license numbers. Credit card numbers of about 209,000 consumers, and personal information in credit file dispute documents for about 182,000 consumers were also accessed.

What can you do?  The following are steps that you can utilize to help protect against identity theft:

Step 1: Enroll in Equifax’s program (or just move on to Step 2)

Equifax’s identity protection program, Trusted ID, is being offered to anyone who wants to enroll. The program is designed to help prevent identity theft and tampering with your credit. If you’re willing to give Equifax another chance, you can sign up for the program here. But, be aware: the checker that lets you know if you were hacked might be broken and enrolling in the program prevents you from participating in a class-action lawsuit against Trusted ID, but doesn’t prevent you from participating in lawsuits related to the cyber-attack.

Because of these circumstances, we recommend that, for now.  Anyone with a credit history should assume they were affected by the hack.

Step 2: Check your credit reports

More than three months passed between the time the breach may have started and now. We’re not sure if the data of those affected was used maliciously during that period, so consider looking through your credit reports for any suspicious activity. The US government guarantees everyone a free annual credit report from the three major bureaus — yes, including Experian. You can access the reports at

When looking through your reports, keep an eye out for new accounts you didn’t open, late payments on debts you don’t recognize and any other activity that looks unfamiliar.

If you suspect someone used your identity to open credit cards, take on loans, or reopen closed accounts, contact the credit card company’s fraud department immediately. You are not responsible for charges made on a fraudulent card, but you have to report the issue in a timely manner. Once you’ve reported the fraudulent credit, follow this guide to recovering from identity theft.

Step 3: Freeze your credit

It’s still early days, so even if your credit report comes back clean, remain vigilant about protecting your credit. One of the most reliable ways to prevent someone from opening credit cards in your name is to place what’s called a “credit freeze.”

When you freeze your credit, you (or anyone masquerading as you) will be required to unfreeze your account by providing the PIN you got when you froze your credit.

To freeze your credit, contact each of the credit bureaus using these phone numbers:

Equifax: 1-800-349-9960

Experian: 1 888 397 3742

TransUnion: 1-888-909-8872

The process is usually automated and can be completed within a few minutes. Just be sure to keep your PINs secure.

Step 4: Set a fraud alert

A fraud alert is another way to make it hard for identity thieves to open accounts in your name. When a fraud alert is set, credit card companies will be required to verify your identity before opening an account. That, combined with the credit freeze, is a great way to keep your credit secure.

To set a fraud alert, contact just one of the credit card bureaus and ask for an initial fraud alert. Once the alert is set, it will last 90 days. After that, you’ll have to renew it. Here are the appropriate phone numbers for the bureaus:

Equifax: 1-888-766-0008

Experian: 1-888-397-3742

TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289

Step 5: Repeat the process for your loved ones

Because Equifax is not notifying those affected through direct mail or email, some people will be left without the resources or tech savvy to protect their identities or find out if they were compromised. With that in mind, consider helping your loved ones — especially the elderly without computer access — with the above steps.

Lastly, watch out for tax season.

It’s still too early to know if and how the data exposed in Equifax’s breach will be misused, but one major concern comes around during tax season. Identity thieves can use stolen Social Security numbers to file fraudulent tax returns and receive refunds.


Stop. Think. Connect.

Stop.Think.Connect.TM is a national public awareness campaign aimed at increasing the understanding of cyber threats and empowering the American public to be safer and more secure online.

Cyber threats affecting you, your family, and members of your community include:

  • Identity Theft
  • Fraud and Phishing
  • Cyber Bullying and Ethics
  • Cyber Predators

If you have more questions or would like to learn more about cyber security, please visit the Stop. Think. Connect. Campaign from the Department of Homeland Security.  You’ll find great materials and helpful tips on cyber security.

Tips for Banking Safely

We love our Facebook fans, but remember, banking safely is a top priority to us at FNB! Please note that Facebook is a social network and personal financial information should never be disclosed.

We also want to remind you that FNB will never contact you via text message, phone call, or e-mail and ask you for your account information, passwords, debit/ATM card number, PIN number, etc.  If you didn’t initiate the call, e-mail or text, then please do not share your personal information.  If you ever receive any suspicious communication that appears to be from FNB about your account, please contact your FNB Banking Center immediately.

Together, we can do our part to eliminate identity theft.

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