Equifax Data Breach Information
Equifax, one of the three major credit reporting agencies in the United States, announced on September 7 that the personal information of 143 million Americans was exposed in a data breach that lasted from mid-May through July.
At Alerus, the security of your information and accounts is a top priority. While the Equifax incident is unrelated to any Alerus systems, we understand that our customers are concerned. We have compiled this list of things you should consider in response to this situation.
Find out if you are affected
Visit Equifax’s website specifically dedicated to the breach: www.equifaxsecurity2017.com. Equifax recommends that consumers also contact the Equifax call center at 1-866-447-7559. The call center is open 7 days a week from 7:00 a.m. – 1:00 a.m. Eastern Time. Equifax is offering one year of free credit monitoring to everyone, whether you were affected or not.
Check your credit reports
Review your credit reports to check for unauthorized account activity. You are entitled to receive one free credit report per year from each of the three credit bureaus at www.annualcreditreport.com.
It is important to be vigilant about reviewing your credit report and as well as activity taking place in your various accounts (banking, credit cards, etc.) so that you can increase your ability to notice any suspicious activity and take action as appropriate.
Consider placing a freeze on your credit
Freezing your credit may be beneficial, but this decision depends on your own situation. If you will be applying for credit soon or are worried about an emergency credit need, a freeze may not be desirable for you because freezes prevent creditors from viewing your credit file and approving credit requests until you unfreeze your file. Please see the Federal Trade Commission’s credit freeze FAQs for more information.
Each of these credit bureaus may charge fees to freeze and unfreeze your credit. However, Equifax has agreed to waive its fees for placing and removing freezes through November 21, 2017.
Consider placing a fraud alert on your credit
Fraud alerts place a “red flag” on your credit report, requiring creditors to take additional identity-verifying steps before opening a new account in your name. These alerts may help prevent someone from opening new accounts in your name, but may not prevent the misuse of existing accounts. You must monitor your existing bank accounts and credit cards for fraudulent activity. Learn about the difference between credit freezes and fraud alerts, and get details about how to request a fraud alert, on the FTC’s website.
Actively monitor your accounts
You are in the best position to monitor your accounts and alert us to any unauthorized or suspicious transactions. The sooner you report this type of activity the better however it is important to know consumer customers will not be liable (for unauthorized or suspicious transactions) as long as you have notified us within 60 days of being provided your bank statement for review.
Security measures available through Alerus
Alerus customers can take advantage of a number of security features, including:
- Account alerts, which can be set up through online banking to notify you of deposits, withdrawals, and suspicious activity.
- CardValet® is a free app on your phone that sends real-time alerts anytime your Alerus debit card is used. Download it for Android or iPhone.
- Enhanced 3D Secure is a free service included with all Alerus debit cards. It incorporates additional risk-based authentication designed to add an extra layer of security when making purchases online.
- Data encryption, fraud monitoring, and transaction limits may help safeguard our customers against fraud.
- Alerus debit and credit cards are protected by a Zero Liability Policy1. This means if your Alerus debit or credit card is ever lost, stolen or used without your authorization and you provide us with prompt notification, you are protected against unauthorized transactions charged to your card.
Our Customer Care Center is available seven days a week to take your calls. You can reach us at 800.279.3200 Mon.-Fri., 7 a.m. – 10 p.m. Central time, and on weekends 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. Central time.
1Zero Liability does not apply to ATM transactions, certain commercial card transactions, PIN, or other transactions not processed by Visa®. Please see your applicable Alerus account agreement and card terms and conditions for further information on liability for unauthorized transactions.