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At this time, it appears there were just over 200,000 credit cards among the 143 million records potentially compromised.  Equifax has indicated that debit cards were not exposed – therefore criminals are unlikely to have the capability to withdraw funds from a checking account.

Affected consumers are at risk from criminals using stolen information to fraudulently open accounts.  This means that the most pressing and immediate threat with this breach is identity theft, and the best thing credit unions can do right now is provide their members with identity protection tips. On our press call this morning and in other interactions with CUNA members, we have suggested the following:

The first step consumers should take to find out more is to visit Equifax’s website. Equifax has a tool that can help consumer determine whether their data has been exposed. Then, consumers should take steps to protect their identify.  There are a number of tips at that can help consumers remain vigilant and protect their personal data. These include:

  • Don’t respond to email, text or telephone calls asking for personal or financial information
  • Frequently review account activity and immediately report unauthorized transactions
  • Place an initial fraud alert with credit bureaus if fraud has occurred
  • Enroll and opt-in for transaction monitoring
  • Use card on/off switches (if available)
  • Enroll in Verified by VISA / MasterCard Secure Code