To All Lincoln County Small Business Owners,
Cyber security breaches are at an all-time high. The compromise of the personal data of 143 million U.S. consumers in the care of Equifax – nearly half the country – occurred May through July, 2017, but was not made public until September 7. We urge all small business owners to review the following article from Attorney General, Ellen F. Rosenblum, for suggested actions to take to help ensure your safety. (Thanks to the Blue Mountain C.C. SBDC for compiling this information.)
Fraud Prevention Class coming in October
The Oregon Coast SBDC is pleased to welcome Tammy Boysun and Teresa Denlinger for a powerful new class on how to protect yourself from Fraud (including identity theft). The class is coving Oct. 16 to Lincoln City and Oct. 19 to Newport.
Equifax Data Breach
Suggested Actions to Take
1. Do NOT visit Equifax’s website to find out if your information was exposed or to enroll in Equifax’s credit monitoring service. The website’s terms of service potentially restricts your legal rights. Buried in the terms of service is language that bars those who enroll in the Equifax checker program from participating in any class-action lawsuits that may arise from the incident. And because the hackers gained access to the information through Equifax’s U.S. website, it is unclear whether the information you enter to determine if your information has been compromised (your last name and the last six digits of your Social Security number) will be protected from future breaches.
2. Check your credit report for inaccuracies. You can request your credit report for free from each of three reporting bureaus every year by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com or by calling 1-877-322-8228.
3. Place a credit freeze. A credit freeze will halt any application for a new line of credit and remain in effect until you request that it be lifted. Keep in mind that a credit freeze won’t prevent a thief from making charges to your existing accounts.
For more information on how to place a freeze, visit https://www.doj.state.or.us/consumer-protection/id-theft-data-breaches/identity-theft/.
4. Place a fraud alert. A fraud alert is a statement in your credit file that notifies anyone requesting a copy of your credit report that you may be a victim of ID theft. There are three different types of fraud alerts: an initial alert, an extended alert and an active duty alert. For more information on these types, visit https://www.doj.state.or.us/consumer-protection/id-theft-data-breaches/identity-theft/.
5. File your taxes as early as possible. As soon as you have the tax information you need, file your taxes before a scammer does. Tax identity theft happens when someone uses your Social Security number to get a tax refund or a job. Respond right away to letters from the IRS.
6. Visit www.identitytheft.gov to learn more about protecting yourself after a data breach.
Under Oregon law, businesses with Oregon customers are required to inform customers and the Attorney General’s Office about security breaches that have placed personal information in jeopardy. For more information on the law and to view a copy of the Equifax breach notice, please visit https://justice.oregon.gov/consumer/databreach/.
In short – Do not rely on Equifax to help you deal with this data breach. Consider taking these suggested actions to protect your information going forward. Check your credit report every four months or so. Thieves can use your information anytime and anywhere!