Fraud Alerts and Scams
Equifax Data Breach
If you have a credit report, there’s a good chance that you’re one of the 143 million American consumers whose sensitive personal information was exposed in a data breach at Equifax, one of the nation’s three major credit reporting agencies. Equifax reported the breach on September 7, 2017.
Here are the facts, according to Equifax.
• The breach lasted from mid-May through July 2017.
• The hackers accessed people’s names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers. This was not a result of any fault of the credit union. The hackers accessed information in Equifax’s database.
• They also stole credit card numbers for about 209,000 people and dispute documents with personal identifying information for about 182,000 people.
• And they grabbed personal information of people in the UK and Canada too.
There are steps to take to help protect your information from being misused. Visit Equifax’s website, www.equifaxsecurity2017.com .
1. Find out if your information was exposed . Click on the "Am I impacted" button and enter your last name and the last six digits of your Social Security number. Your Social Security number is sensitive information, so make sure you’re on a secure computer and an encrypted network connection any time you enter it. The site will tell you if you’ve been affected by this breach.
2. You also can access frequently asked questions at the site.
Here are some other steps to take to help protect yourself after a data breach:
• Check your credit reports from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — for free — by visiting annualcreditreport.com . Accounts or activity that you don’t recognize could indicate identity theft. Visit IdentityTheft.gov to find out what to do.
• Consider placing a credit freeze on your files. A credit freeze makes it harder for someone to open a new account in your name. Keep in mind that a credit freeze won’t prevent a thief from making charges to your existing accounts.
• Monitor your existing credit card and bank accounts closely for charges you don’t recognize.
• If you decide against a credit freeze, consider placing a fraud alert on your files. A fraud alert warns creditors that you may be an identity theft victim and that they should verify that anyone seeking credit in your name really is you.
• File your taxes early — as soon as you have the tax information you need, before a scammer can. Tax identity theft happens when someone uses your Social Security number to get a tax refund or a job. Respond right away to letters from the IRS.
While monitoring your credit card and bank accounts, if you do see any suspicious activity, please contact the credit union immediately at (800) 749-9732.
Scams Involving the Federal Reserve Name
Video Scam Targeting Federal Reserve Bank Routing Numbers; Prosecution Possible
Recently, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York became aware of a scheme promoted in online videos whereby individuals claim that U.S. citizens may make payments using fictitious accounts held at the Federal Reserve Banks. These fictitious accounts have been most commonly styled as secret accounts and/or Social Security trust accounts, and the individuals publishing the videos claim that substantial amounts are held within them for each U.S. citizen. To facilitate the scheme, the individuals publishing the videos have also offered bogus information on how other individuals may use online portals, such as bill-pay websites, to initiate payments from the fictitious accounts using Federal Reserve Bank routing numbers.
It is important for consumers to know that, when making online or e-check bill payments, they must not use Federal Reserve Bank routing numbers. Any video, text, e-mail, phone call, flyer, or website that describes how to pay bills using a Federal Reserve Bank routing number or using an account at the Federal Reserve Bank is a scam.
The Federal Reserve Banks provide banking services only to banks and governmental entities; individuals do not have accounts at the Federal Reserve. If a Federal Reserve Bank receives a request to make a payment on behalf of an individual, the Federal Reserve Bank will decline to make the payment. Consumers who have attempted to use Federal Reserve Bank routing numbers to pay their bills will see those transactions rejected or returned, which may result in penalty fees being assessed by the company they were attempting to pay.
Law enforcement, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), is aware of this scheme, and the Federal Reserve Banks, including the New York Fed, have been cooperating with law enforcement in their investigations. Individuals who participate in such schemes could face criminal charges.
To report instances of fraud relating to these schemes, please e-mail RTN.firstname.lastname@example.org.