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Equifax is a consumer credit reporting agency, and considered one of the three largest American credit agencies, along with Experian and TransUnion. On Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017, Equifax announced a data breach that exposed personal information, which included names, addresses, birth dates, and Social Security numbers, of 143 million Americans.
While Bank of Hawaii was not breached, we want to inform you of several steps you may take to secure your information, as well as answer some questions you might have.
Q: How do I know if my personal information has been compromised because of the Equifax breach?
A: Equifax has set up a dedicated website: equifaxsecurity2017.com that allows you to determine if your information has been potentially impacted and to sign up for credit file monitoring and identity theft protection, called TrustedID Premier. At the bottom of the screen, click on “Check Potential Impact,” input your last name and the last six digits of your Social Security number, and follow the instructions to complete the process.
Regardless of whether or not you discover your information has been affected, everyone is permitted to sign up for one free year of credit monitoring and identity theft protection with Equifax. To register for TrustedID Premier, click on “Enroll” at the bottom of the screen, then follow the instructions. You will be required to provide a valid email address and additional information to verify your identity. A few days after enrolling, you will receive an email with a link to activate your TrustedID Premier account. Please note that the enrollment period ends on November 21.
If you have additional questions, you may call Equifax’s call center at (866) 447-7559. The call center is open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. Eastern time. Equifax has informed the public that while they are experiencing high call volumes, the company is working hard to respond to all inquiries.
Q: How does TrustedID Premier work?
A: According to Equifax, TrustedID Premier includes monitoring reports generated by Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Through TrustedID Premier, you have the ability to lock and unlock Equifax credit reports with a credit freeze, identity theft insurance and Social Security number monitoring.
After the one free year of credit monitoring is up, you may continue your TrustedID Premier account. You will need to sign up again to extend coverage, as you will not be automatically enrolled.
Q: What other steps can I take?
A: The Equifax data breach highlights the importance of reviewing financial information. While nothing is tamper-proof, there are a number of steps that you can take to help reduce the chance of being be a victim of fraud or electronic theft. Visit Bank of Hawaii’s Fraud Protection page for more information.
To protect yourself against fraud, we encourage you to make it as difficult as possible for criminals to use your information and make fraudulent charges or take out new credit accounts. Here are some additional steps you may want to consider: