On September 7, Equifax—one of the three largest American credit agencies—announced a major data breach affecting some 143 million Americans’ personal information.

According to the company, the information accessed primarily includes names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers. In addition, credit card numbers for approximately 209,000 U.S. consumers, and certain dispute documents with personal identifying information for approximately 182,000 U.S. consumers, were accessed.

Based on Equifax’s investigation, the unauthorized access occurred from mid-May through July 2017.

Here’s What You Can Do To Protect Yourself

  • Monitor your existing credit card and financial accounts closely for charges you don’t recognize.
  • Monitor your credit reports.
  • Consider asking one of the three credit reporting companies to place a fraud alert on your credit report or a credit freeze on your files. These can make it harder for an identity thief to open more accounts in your name. Keep in mind that these won’t prevent a thief from making charges to your existing accounts.
  • Attend our Identity Theft Solutions webinar, provided by our partner, BALANCE. We created a special webinar in September covering everything you need to know about fraud prevention and recovery. We are offering this webinar for FREE to help provide valuable information on Identity Theft solutions on Wednesday, September 20 from 5 to 6 p.m. Eastern Time. Register here.

If you suspect you’re a victim of fraud or identity theft, you should contact Tower immediately. Report your suspicions to us immediately at abuse@towerfcu.org, or call the Member Service Center at 301-497-7000 or 800-787-8328.

For steps to protect about identity theft as well as information about fraud alerts, visit www.ftc.gov/idtheft.