Removing Barriers Blog

CUNA Sends Letter to Equifax
Posted September 13, 2017 by CUNA Advocacy

Today CUNA President & CEO Jim Nussle sent a letter to Equifax requesting that the credit reporting agency notify all consumers who have been impacted by the data breach.  As we are sure that you are aware, Equifax announced the massive data breach last week, which impacts 143 million American consumers with the loss of “Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver's license numbers.”  And an additional 209,000 credit card number were also stolen.  

Because of the scope, the sensitive personal data lost and the fact that consumers generally do not have a direct relationship with Equifax, CUNA is asking that Equifax to notify directly all consumers whose information was lost by Equifax and to do so in a manner that ensures that the consumers will receive and understand the notification.  The issue is that because of the lack of direct relationship, many consumer may ignore a standard letter from Equifax and view it as a type of junk mail. 

CUNA has spent considerable time monitoring and studying the Equifax breach and its implications on credit unions and consumer.  Unfortunately, Equifax has not provided much information  beyond what is available in their initial announcement.  For this reason we are requesting a briefing from Equifax so that we can more fully assess the harm on credit union and their members that could come from the breach.   

Affected consumer are at risk from criminals using stolen information to fraudulently open accounts. 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.  We have a number of tips at www.stopthedatabreaches.com 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