What do I do if my personal information has been compromised due to a data breach?
If you’ve been notified by a merchant that your information was compromised in a data breach, the merchant should offer steps to secure your identity, including free credit monitoring (check their website for information). You may also want to place a credit freeze or fraud alert on your credit report. (Additional information below.)
If you haven’t been notified by a merchant but you suspect that your data may have been compromised, you still have the option of contacting the national credit bureaus to request fraud alerts or credit freezes.
Even if the merchant indicates your information doesn’t appear to be impacted, we recommend you be vigilant in reviewing all your account statements and credit reports and contact us immediately if you find any unauthorized activity on your RCU accounts. To assist in this effort, there are email or SMS/text alerts available in online banking, which you can customize to your own activity comfort levels.
What’s a credit freeze?
A credit freeze, also known as a security freeze, is a tool that allows you to restrict access to your credit report. This makes it more difficult for identity thieves to apply for credit using your personal information. A freeze limits the ability to pull a credit report. Most creditors require a credit report prior to approving a new account. If they are unable to access the report, they may choose to not extend credit. If an identity theft victim has placed a credit freeze on their account and they wish to apply for credit, they will need to (temporarily) unfreeze their credit to proceed with the application.
What’s a fraud alert?
A fraud alert can be placed on your credit file. This alert will display on your credit report, which should let lenders know that you are a victim of identity theft. That company may then choose to take additional steps to verify your identity prior to opening a new account. A fraud alert is valid for one year and must be re-established annually. This is a good alternative to a credit freeze if you wish to be cautious but do not wish to completely disallow access to your credit report.
Other steps you can take:
- Monitor your accounts online and on your statements, and notify your financial institution(s) immediately if you detect any unauthorized activity.
- Create a verbal password for your RCU account that only you know and a stranger with personal information about you would not be able to guess. This is something you can set up through any of our Member service representatives at a branch, or by calling us at 1 (800) 479-7928, option 3.
- Set fraud alerts with all three credit bureaus. To learn how, visit https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0275-place-fraud-alert.
- Reset account passwords, PIN codes, and other login credentials for financial accounts that may be vulnerable. Get tips on creating strong passwords.