Protecting Your Personal Information
As we're sure you've seen, Equifax, one of the three national consumer credit reporting agencies, experienced a major data breach this summer. Here’s what we know according to Equifax: the breach occurred May through July of 2017 and the information stolen includes consumers’ personally identifiable information including names, Social Security numbers, dates of birth, addresses and in some cases, driver’s license numbers.
To be clear, First Commonwealth was not compromised and we do not know if your information was part of the Equifax breach. However, by using the available tools to monitor your accounts, you can better identify suspicious activity and take appropriate steps.
We are committed to working together to protect you from fraud. We have received reports of consumers being called by people claiming to be representatives of Equifax, asking for social security numbers. Do not respond to these requests, and as a best practice, never respond to an unsecured email with personal information.
What You Can Do
Enroll in Online and Mobile banking or log in to your existing account so you can watch for unauthorized transactions on your accounts 24/7. If you spot anything suspicious, contact us at 800.711.2265.
Sign up for text alerts within Online Banking to get automatically notified of account activity.
Check your credit reports for accuracy at annualcreditreport.com. You can order a free copy from all three of the credit reporting agencies. You are entitled to one free report from each of the credit bureaus once per year.
Consider freezing your credit file, which means no one - including you - can access your credit report to open new accounts. You’ll get a PIN number to use each time you want to freeze and unfreeze your account to apply for new credit. If you might be applying for credit soon or think you might need quick credit in an emergency, it might be better to simply place a fraud alert on your files with the three major credit bureaus by contacting them. A fraud alert puts a red flag on your credit report which requires businesses to take additional steps, such as contacting you by phone, before opening a new account. Here are some FAQs about fraud alerts and credit freezes to help you decide.
Protecting Yourself in the Future
The Equifax breach serves as a good reminder of the importance of safeguarding our information to the full extent that we can. These steps below, combined with additional precautions from the Federal Trade Commission, can help reduce your risk for identity theft.
- Regularly update your passwords for any online accounts
- Never provide personal information to anyone over the phone unless you initiate the call and you know the company is reputable.
- Tear or shred account statements, canceled checks, pre-approved credit card offers or any other material containing personal information.
- Carry only identification, bank and credit cards that are necessary. Do not write down PINs, but rather commit them to memory.
- Be aware of your surroundings when using ATMs. A wandering eye can quickly pick up your PIN
- Don't leave outgoing mail in your mailbox. Instead, drop in a bin at the post office. Remove incoming mail as soon as possible. If you are going out of town, plan for the U.S. Postal Service to hold your mail.
- Keep track of billing cycles and notify the company immediately if anything questionable appears on your statement or if your bill has not arrived on time.
- Do not place a credit card or driver's license number on your checks.
- Provide your social security number only when necessary. Keep it in a safe and secure location and never print it on checks.
You may have additional questions or feel a little rattled by the breach - we get that and are here to support you. Feel free to call us at 800.711.2265 Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. and on the weekends from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. You can also chat live on fcbanking.com or email us any time at Engage@fcbanking.com and we'll respond as soon as we can. If you'd like to learn more, we've provided some helpful resources below regarding the breach and protecting your security.
Equifax Breach Information
Online Banking Security and Alerts Resources
What to do When My Information is Lost or Stolen
Reporting Identity Theft and Getting a Recovery Plan
Signs of Fraud or Identity Theft