As you have likely heard, Equifax – one of the major credit companies in the US – had their security breached, and more than 140 million Americans have possibly had their identity compromised. Obviously, this is upsetting to all of us in this digital age where more damage can be done electronically than ever before. Cyber security is a real issue, and unfortunately, it isn’t going away anytime soon.
We want to assure you that none of the accounts we manage for you or the investment managers we deal with are reporting any attempts to access your confidential information in their systems. This doesn’t mean you are immune from the Equifax issue. However, we feel confident that your investment and insurance providers are not the source. In addition, we do not move any money at Summit without verbally confirming with our clients. So, while we can’t guarantee that the Equifax issue won’t impact you, we can be sure that none of your funds will go anywhere without us talking with you first.
Check this Equifax link to find out if you were one of the many that might have had your data breached.
(Editorial Comment: Equifax offers a “free 1-year” screening if you were compromised. Be aware – they were just compromised. There is also some concern that signing up limits your ability to seek damages in a class-action lawsuit.)
Check your credit. It’s good practice to check your credit periodically anyway, but it might be more important now. Be sure to look at the recent items where you have applied for credit to make sure it was you. There are a host of vendors for this, and some of the banks and credit cared companies offer this for clients as well.
Freeze your credit if you would like to lock things down for a period of time. You can follow the links below if you would like to freeze your credit at the major credit institutions. You will need to remove the freeze if you want to access credit personally, but this would add a barrier.
Consider a credit monitoring service. There are a host of these services that provide you an email or text message anytime someone accesses your credit report. While they do not prevent someone from obtaining credit, they do notify you every time you attempt to do so. Receiving an alert when you personally were not accessing credit would be very helpful in this environment. (ID Shield and Lifelock are two examples of vendors in this space.)
Security breaches have become a part of life, and hackers are not likely to back down anytime soon. While we cannot stop the occurrences, we promise to do all we can to support you with best practices and to protect your assets under our care. Please reach out to us with any questions or concerns.
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