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Farm Credit Services of America Blog

Tips for Protecting Your Identity

by FCSAmerica Staff Reports | Sep 16, 2017

Our customers were not affected by the Equifax breach as a result of doing business with FCSAmerica. Still, it is possible that FCSAmerica customers are among the 143 million consumers whose names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers were stolen. Below are some protective measures to consider in the wake of the breach.

security guidelinesCheck your credit reports
All consumers are legally entitled to a free annual check of their credit report from each of the three major bureaus, which includes Equifax. You can access your reports at annualcreditreport.com.

If you suspect someone used your identity to open credit cards, take on loans, or re-open closed accounts, contact that company’s fraud department immediately.

Determine if you were impacted by the Equifax breach
Visit equifaxsecurity2017.com and click on “Enroll” to see if your information was compromised.

Enroll in an identity protection program
Equifax is making its identity protection program, TrustedID Premier, available to all consumers at no cost. (Initial requirements that consumers provide a credit card number and waive their right to join a class-action lawsuit has been dropped from the terms of use.)

Identity protection services from other companies are available for a fee. Two popular options are IdentityForce (identityforce.com) and LifeLock (lifelock.com).

Freeze your credit
Placing a “freeze” on your credit prevents lenders from accessing your credit report. This can help prevent identity thieves from using your name to open new accounts. If you need to apply for credit, you can temporarily unfreeze your credit report, using a PIN that is established when you initiate the freeze. Be sure to store the PIN in a secure location. Consumers need to contact each credit bureau individually and establish a freeze with each one.

Set up a fraud alert
Lenders must take extra steps to verify your identity before opening a new account if you have set up a fraud alert. Unlike credit freezes, you only need to contact one credit bureau to establish a fraud alert at all three major credit bureaus. Alerts must be renewed every 90 days.

If you are a victim of identity theft..
The Federal Trade Commission has created a one-stop resource to assist identity theft victims at identitytheft.gov.

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