On September 7, Equifax, a credit monitoring agency, announced that the records of approximately 143 million Americans were breached between May and July 2017. Those records contained names, birth dates, addresses, Social Security numbers and some driver's license numbers. At this time, it appears hackers did not gain access to full credit reports. In addition to the personal information accessed, 209,000 credit card numbers were obtained.
To be clear, TowneBank was not compromised and your information was not stolen from our bank.
We encourage you to visit Equifax's Security website on a secure network (not a public Wi-Fi) and select “Am I Impacted?” From there, you will be prompted to enter some personal information to determine if you have been affected.
Enroll in Equifax’s services.
Equifax is offering one year of free credit monitoring and other services, whether or not your information was exposed. You can sign up for the monitoring service at https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/.
Monitor your credit reports.
In addition, you can order a free copy of your credit report from all three of the credit reporting agencies at annualcreditreport.com. You are entitled to one free report from each of the credit bureaus once per year.
Watch out for scams related to the breach.
Do not trust e-mails that appear to come from Equifax regarding the breach. Attackers are likely to take advantage of the situation and craft sophisticated phishing e-mails. You can learn more about how to avoid phishing scams here.
Know the impacts of placing a freeze on your credit report.
Before deciding to place a freeze on your credit report, consider your personal situation. If you may be applying for credit soon or think you might need quick credit in an emergency, it might be better to simply place a fraud alert on your files with the three major credit bureaus. A fraud alert puts a red flag on your credit report which requires businesses to take additional steps, such as contacting you by phone before opening a new account.
If you decide to place a freeze or fraud alert on your credit report, you will need to contact the three major credit bureaus. For your convenience, their contact information is provided below:
Equifax: Call 800-349-9960 or visit its website.
Experian: Call 888-397-3742 or visit its website.
TransUnion: Call 888-909-8872 or visit its website.
TowneBank is committed to the security of our members.
We employ a number of existing security measures to address these types of evolving threats, including strong encryption software and ongoing monitoring of suspicious activity as a means to help protect your accounts. However, we encourage our members to take additional steps to continuously monitor your accounts for fraudulent activity.
Monitor your bank accounts.
We encourage you to check your bank statements regularly for fraudulent transactions. You can also use online and mobile banking to keep a close eye on your accounts.
Enroll to receive alerts by text or e-mail.
TowneBank provides text and e-mail alerts for our credit card and debit card holders. More information about the alerts and how to enroll is available on our Fraud Prevention Alerts page.
At TowneBank, you have the option to update your record with a fraud notification - an extra layer of protection that keeps us alert to anyone calling, e-mailing, or otherwise contacting us regarding your accounts. Contact your hometown banker to place a fraud alert on your account if you think you were impacted.
You can learn more directly from Equifax on the Equifax Security page or by visiting the Federal Trade Commission’s Informational web page on the breach.
If you have been affected, the Federal Trade Commission also has information posted about how you can protect yourself after a breach.