Equifax Security Breach: Steps to Protect Yourself
Personal security is a topic that we at Veater Financial Group do not take lightly. If you haven't already read our previous posts titled "6 Ways to Combat Identity Theft, "Detecting an IRS Impersonator" and "Protect Yourself from Scammers" please do so.
Recently in the news you may have heard that Equifax, a major credit reporting agency, announced that a breach of sensitive information - including Social Security numbers, driver's license numbers and addresses - occurred between May and July of this year, affecting 143 million Americans.
Such an occurrence is troubling and may lead you to think, "How does my Wealth Manager protect my information?"
Rest assured that our broker-dealer has a robust program to protect client accounts and information. At Veater Financial Group, we use security measures that comply with federal law, including computer safeguards, with secured files and buildings. Also, all employees are trained in the proper handling of clients' personal information and security and are required to adhere to firm protocols. Strict authentication standards are in place to prevent unauthorized access to client accounts online or by phone.
That said, you can still take some steps to firm up the security of your investment accounts. One example would be to verify the identity of any person who contacts you and requests personal information, financial or otherwise. One way to do this would be to end the conversation and use the contact information you have on file to reach out to the caller/emailer. If you have any questions about this, please call us to discuss.
Here are some additional suggestions we encourage you to consider to protect your information:
1) Check to see if your information has been exposed at www.equifaxsecurity2017.com
2) Enroll for Equifax’s credit monitoring service made available at no cost
3) Remain vigilant in checking your financial statements and accounts for unexpected activity and changes to addresses, beneficiaries, etc
4) Consider requesting a credit freeze to prevent potentially fraudulent accounts from being opened in your name. A fee may apply
5) Consider changing your passwords to your online accounts
6) Stay wary of email announcements which may be phishing attempts – some may even appear to be from Equifax concerning the breach. Go directly to websites rather than clicking the links provided in emails.
Unfortunately, cyber-crime is a reality we all face. However, proactively taking steps to protect your information can go a long way toward ensuring your online safety. Should you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to give us a call.
Equifax and their services are not affiliated with LPL Financial