Equifax Data Breach
Here’s What We Know
Equifax, one of the three largest American consumer credit reporting agencies, had its website application exploited by criminals from mid-May through July 2017. This Equifax cybersecurity breach potentially impacted approximately 143 million U.S. consumers.
The information that criminals accessed primarily includes names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers. In addition, Equifax estimates that the criminals also accessed 209,000 credit card numbers.
Equifax established a dedicated website, www.EquifaxSecurity2017.com, to help consumers find the most up-to-date information. If you have more questions about the Equifax breach, you can contact Equifax directly at 1-866-447-7559.
Bellco Has Implemented Additional Security Protocols
The Equifax data breach is of deep concern to Bellco. We care deeply about the potential impact this breach could have on members, and we want to make sure you are aware of the ways we’re helping protect your privacy and personal information.
For years, Bellco has been consistently monitoring your accounts 24/7 for any fraudulent activities—this happens regardless of whether there’s an active breach or not. We also have processes in place to prevent our members from being victims of identity theft. Although no process is perfect at preventing fraud or identity theft, we believe our methods have served our members well in the past, and will continue to serve them in the future.
Even though our existing methods are good, due to the sheer magnitude of the Equifax breach, we have implemented additional security protocols related to identity verification—whether you’re in a branch, on the phone, or online at Bellco.org. This means you may be asked to answer additional security questions when requesting account access or performing certain transactions. Although we know these additional steps might be inconvenient, we believe this helps ensure the security of your personal information and accounts.
Bellco hopes our members will work with us to help us protect your identity, your information and your money.
YOU Are Your Own Best Protection Against ID Fraud!
Although Bellco actively monitors and protects your accounts, you are your own best defense in the fight against identity theft and fraud. That’s why we urge you to consider taking additional steps to further protect yourself. A few things you may want to do are:
• Visit www.EquifaxSecurity2017.com to see the most updated information about the breach.
• For the foreseeable future, be vigilant in reviewing and monitoring your account statements and credit reports, and immediately report any unauthorized activity to Bellco’s Fraud Department by visiting the nearest Bellco branch or calling 1-800-BELLCO-1.
• Obtain a free copy of your credit report from each of the credit reporting agencies, including Equifax, by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com regularly. You are allowed to obtain one free credit report from each of the three credit reporting agencies every year. This means you have access to at least 3 credit reports each year. Many people find it helpful to request one credit report every 3–4 months.
• Sign up for fraud alerts and set up a temporary freeze at all three credit reporting agencies: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.
• Visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website, www.ftc.gov/idtheft, to see how you can better protect against identity theft with helpful information and resources.
• In case we need to contact you, be sure your contact information at Bellco is up to date, including your phone number, email, and mailing address.
• Set up your own fraud and transaction alerts on your Bellco debit and credit card with Bellco’s Visa® CardCentral app. To access CardCentral, download the free app through the App Store or Google Play or by visiting the CardCentral website.
• Research various identity fraud protection services for a plan that best fits your needs. Bellco has partnered with Identity Fraud, Inc., to offer a variety of identity crime-related solutions to help protect you, your family, and your business against identity crimes and data theft.
We’ll Keep Monitoring Your Debit and Credit Cards
Since the breach also included approximately 209,000 U.S. consumers’ credit cards, we’ll monitor that situation for any potential issues as well.
If we receive notification from Visa® of any Bellco debit or credit cards that have been impacted, we will contact those impacted members and reissue their cards.