ACUA is providing this Alert in response to the recent data security breach by Equifax that compromised the personal information of as many as 143 million consumers. ACUA encourages each state-chartered credit union to notify its members of the data security breach and provide guidance to assist members with protecting their financial accounts.
Additional information about the breach is available on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Consumer Information website at consumer.ftc.gov. The FTC webpage is labeled “Share This Page” and appears to be available to be posted or linked from a credit union website. Credit unions may also wish to use statement stuffers to alert members.
Suggested guidance to members includes recommending that members take the following precautions:
- Regularly request free credit report(s), inspect the report(s) closely, and promptly dispute any unauthorized accounts.
- Inspect all financial account statements closely and promptly dispute any unauthorized charges.
- Consider enrolling in free credit reporting and monitoring services.
- Consider implementing a credit lock or credit freeze on your existing credit files.
- Consider placing a fraud alert if the member believes his or her data has been compromised.
- Monitor potential credit activity in the names of any children.
- Be on guard for potential phishing emails. This includes not opening email messages or attachments from unknown senders and not clicking on any unknown links. This also includes not providing sensitive information via email. Fraudsters frequently send coercive or misleading emails that threaten account suspension or other action if sensitive information is not provided.
- Be vigilant in checking the accuracy of email addresses to confirm the sender is legitimate. Customers should not respond to email from spoofed email addresses (i.e., email addresses that appear correct, but make minor changes in the domain name, such as changing the letter O to the number zero).
- Remember that a credit union will not ask its members to verify account information via email.