URGENT: Equifax Data Breach Fall-Out: Steps to Protect Your Customers
You've probably heard this by now, but yesterday Equifax announced that roughly 143 million United States citizens' personal data and credit histories could have been compromised due to a cyber hack that occurred IN JULY.
So, why are we just hearing about this IN SEPTEMBER? What the heck, Equifax? It tookMORE THAN A MONTH to tell us that we could be victims of identity theft?
As "consolation," Equifax has announced that it will provide free credit monitoring services to all U.S. consumers for one year. Wanna know the catch? To sign up for those services, you have to GIVE EQUIFAX MORE PERSONAL INFO. Brilliant plan, guys, just spectacular - whoever greenlighted the plan to "ask for more personal info after a MASSIVE DATA BREACH" should be fired.
Regardless of Equifax's shoddy inability to promptly notify 143 million people that they were potentially exposed to identity theft, if your Institution uses Equifax's credit reporting services, YOU can ACT quickly to help your accountholders and members determine if their personal information has been compromised.
PROTECT YOUR CUSTOMERS
- Notify customers ASAP of the Equifax data hack. Post a notice on your website, send a text alert to their phones, send acustomer-wide email, tweet about the cyber hack, write a Facebook post and aLinkedIn message. The more notification avenues you take, the more likely it is that your customers will actually receive the alert.
- Streamline your assistance. Designate one or two employees to handle customer calls related to the data breach. Provide the phone number(s) in all communications so your customers can reach the appropriate person.
- Free Credit Monitoring Services. Despite the outrage and uproar above, you may want to encourage your customers to sign up for Equifax's free identity theft protection and credit file monitoring program. SeeRegistration Steps and Screenshots, below. Please feel free to copy and paste these instructions in your communications. If you disagree and do not want to advise your customers to supply Equifax with additional person info, you should contact Equifax to discuss an alternative solution.
WAS YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION COMPROMISED?
1. Begin Enrollment. Found out if your personal information has been impacted by this incident by clicking on the "Begin Enrollment" button.
2. Enter Your Surname and the Last 6-Digits of Your Social Security Number. Oh yeah, don't forget to remind Equifax that you're not a robot.
3. You will be redirected to a page that will tell youwhether Equifax believes your personal information was compromised. If you're one of the unlucky 143 million Americans like I am, you will see this message.
4. Click the orange "Enroll" button to sign up for the free credit monitoring services.
5. Add a Calendar Reminder. Note that Equifax cannot be bothered to remind you to continue through the enrollment process on the date the services are made available to you. So, below my 7AM activity of "Pray for all the families and friends affected by 9/11," I now have "Register for Annoying Equifax's Inefficient Monitoring Program." Thanks, Equifax, you're a real gem.
FINAL NOTE: Every member at your institution may also be affected by this data breach. You may want to encourage your personnel to find out whether their personal information was compromised.