The news of the massive Equifax breach in September was unsettling for many as millions of Americans’ private financial information was hacked. The latest news reveals 2.5 million more consumers were impacted than initially thought, bringing the total to 145.5 million. This news can make people very nervous to apply for a loan, check their credit score, or share their personal financial information with anyone - and rightly so.
We at Financial One Credit Union want to be part of the solution instead of downplaying the problem. Here are some questions you might have about protecting your financial information.
Do Banks Communicate via Text message?While some banks do communicate via text, be wary of a type of financial scam called “smishing”. Bankrate.com explains, “Smishing occurs when you get a dubious text message from a fraudster posing as a bank representative. The message may warn you of security breaches and ask you to call a toll-free number. Then you’re asked for your account number and pin.” Don’t trust text communication as a communication method; call the customer service line at your financial institution instead.
Can Viruses on my Computer Hack my Financial Information?Yes, malware is rampant and one of the most common ways hackers gain access to your private information. Malware is downloaded onto your computer by clicking an online link or opening an infected email. Be very wary of sites and senders you are unfamiliar with.
How Do I Know if a Website is Secure?Look closely at the website address (URL). If it starts with http, the site is not secure. If you see https, the site is more secure, but still not fool-proof. The added “s” in the URL means the website is secured using an SSL Certificate. Extra-secure sites will have a lock icon, meaning the company that owns the site has an Extended Validation - the safest and most secure level.
Even high-profile companies like Yahoo and LinkedIn have been hacker victims. Check 179 hacked websites at one time by entering your email address into the website Haveibeenpwned.com. If you are curious about the recent Equifax breach, you can visit their website directly to find out if your information was stolen.
How Do I Know if I Have Been Affected?
To learn more about the Equifax breach specifically, visit Krebsonsecurity.com. The best thing to do moving forward is to keep a close eye on all your finances and accounts. If you spot something unusual, notify your financial institution right away so they can help you stop the unlawful charges.
For our members impacted by the Equifax breach, Financial One will do everything possible to protect you and your financial information. Contact us for more information.
Keeping Your Financial Information Safe After The Equifax Breach