How you can protect yourself:

It’s highly likely you, your spouse or children have been impacted by the Equifax breach. I wanted to take a moment and tell you how the credit union is responding and how we all could be impacted in the future. Unlike the many plastic card breaches we’ve experienced over the years, the Equifax breach will give identity thieves much more than debit or credit card numbers. While card breaches are never a good thing, they are simple to deal with. You close the impacted cards and reissue new ones. Data breaches involving personal and private information like that held by the credit bureaus were viewed as the last bastion. Vital data such as names, social security numbers, and dates of birth have historically been used to authenticate members if they didn’t have a passcode or challenge questions setup (especially via phone calls). If that wasn’t enough, the breadth of the breach window (time that hackers had in Equifax’s system scouring information) lasted months- thereby allowing the volume of information stolen to become an exponential problem that might not come to fruition for years.
By far the best practice we can recommend is setting up a passcode and/or challenge questions on your account(s).

Back around 2008 we started recommending this on accounts, and many of you had already requested passcodes long prior to this breach. This has served us well in recent days. If you do not have challenge questions or passcodes, you will likely be asked several additional questions that would allow us to further validate your identity based on knowledge privy to only you and the credit union.
Our staff has also received a lot of questions regarding what to do. The most prevalent question is should I freeze my credit files? This might not be a bad idea if you’ve exited your prime borrowing years, but keep in mind that it could still impact other credit driven areas that aren’t traditional borrowing (ex. renting an apartment with a college age child). If you’re in prime borrowing years, the choice to freeze credit files will likely be very inconvenient.

Since this is a growing epidemic, probably the most pro-active solution is to sign up for credit and dark web monitoring service. There are many to choose from, but we’ll be launching a page to our website for Zander Identity Theft Protection later this month. The cost is very reasonable with break downs on the page (a family including children up to age 18 cost $14.99 per month). Along with other employees here at the credit union I plan to sign up for this service as well. Zander may sound familiar, it’s the same company endorsed by Dave Ramsey for life insurance.

We appreciate your business and your help as our team navigates the fine line between ease of service and keeping your family’s information secure in the days ahead. Please contact us with any questions at (806) 353-9999

All the best,

John Hays
Access Community Credit Union