Steps You Can Take to Protect Your Identity
Equifax recently announced a data breach that exposed the personal information of millions of US customers. As communicated by Equifax, the type of information primarily includes names, social security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some cases, driver’s license numbers.
Equifax provides information for consumers who want more information about the data breach:
Merchants Bank has no direct link with Equifax or any other credit bureau. We are concerned with the safety of our customers and make your security our top priority. Following are steps you can take to protect yourself from identity theft:
- Sign up for free credit monitoring. Credit Karma provides this service for free and gives detailed information found on the credit reporting agencies.
- Consider freezing your credit file at all three credit bureaus:
- Equifax — 1-800-349-9960
- Experian — 1-888-397-3742
- TransUnion — 1-888-909-8872
You'll need to supply your name, address, date of birth, Social Security number and other personal information. Fees vary based on where you live, but commonly range from $5 to $10.
After receiving your freeze request, each credit reporting company will send you a confirmation letter containing a unique PIN (personal identification number) or password. Keep the PIN or password in a safe place. You will need it if you choose to lift the freeze. Pennsylvania, automatically removes the freeze after seven years.
Customers who regularly set up lines of credit are advised NOT to freeze their credit files.
- Set up alerts in Online Banking to monitor all account activity.
- Merchants Bank debit cards are secured through Mastercard’s 3D Secure Protection. No additional set up is required.
- Be aware of scams. Now more than ever, customers may receive solicitations via email and telephone calls offering information or assistance related to the breach. Should you have any questions, contact the credit bureau directly to speak with a representative.
More comprehensive information can be found through the Federal Trade Commission website - https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/feature-0014-identity-theft
Please contact a branch representative if you have any questions or concerns regarding identity theft protection.