The Equifax breach: what happened.
Even if you have never knowingly used Equifax, there is a possibility that your personal information was disclosed in the recent hack of its database. Equifax is a credit bureau that often receives data about individuals from credit card companies, banks and retailers. The hackers retrieved highly sensitive information for 143 million Americans including names, social security numbers, birthdates, addresses, license numbers and credit card information. The breach took place between mid-May and July, but was not reported publicly until September.
What can you do to protect your accounts?
At Fairport, your financial security is of utmost importance, and we are committed to finding solutions to protect you. There has been conflicting information circulating in the press, and we are carefully monitoring the situation. We will continue to provide details as circumstances unfold, but here are four quick tips to help keep your information secure today.
Tip #1: Be password savvy
Not all institutions protect passwords securely. There are different ways companies store passwords, using varying degrees of encryption. Of course, transacting online is simply a way of life, so what can you do to protect yourself? Make sure you use a unique password for every site, especially financial institutions, to keep your accounts safe.
Tip #2: Enroll in one-time password protection
A one-time password is a unique 6-character numeric or alpha numeric used for authentication. These single-use passwords protect the security of your accounts, even if someone else has correctly guessed your existing login ID and password. It is a good idea to contact your financial custodian to see if they can offer this or other security features, and if Schwab is your custodian, you can contact Schwab Alliance at 1-800-515-2157 to enroll.
Tip #3: Keep your contact information current
In the coming months, your financial institutions will likely be reaching out to you regarding account security. It is important that they can reach you quickly and efficiently. Check the contact information on all of your financial accounts for accuracy and keep them up-to-date if you make any changes to your physical address, home or mobile phone numbers. To check your information on your Schwab account, you can visit schwab.com/MyProfile.
Tip #4: Consider using voice identification
Voice ID is a new technology that replaces PIN numbers and personal questions to authenticate you based on your unique voiceprint. It is a verbal password that bypasses the need to ask for other personal information, a convenient and secure way that organizations with this capability can authenticate your call. A verbal password provides an additional level of security when dealing with a financial institution over the phone. If Schwab is your custodian, you can visit schwab.com/VoiceID for information or contact Schwab Alliance at 1-800-515-2157 to enroll.
Protecting your identity
Your Fairport team will continue to remain vigilant. We thank you for your patience as we take extra precautions to verify your identity and guard your financial security. We will continue to monitor the situation and offer solutions to protect your accounts.
Thank you for your business and trust. As always, if you have any additional questions or concerns, do not hesitate to reach out to your team directly.