Report Suspicious Activity
Affected by the 2017 Equifax data breach?
Here's how to file a claim.
If you were one of the more than 140 million Americans affected by the 2017 Equifax data breach, there's some very important information you need to know, including how to file a claim for reimbursement.
Equifax agreed to a class action settlement on Monday in which they will pay up to $700 million in claims, with up to $425 million set aside specifically to reimburse the over 50 percent of Americans whose names, addresses, Social Security numbers, birth dates, credit card numbers and even driver's license information were compromised by hackers.
To see if you have been impacted, start by going to the Equifax data breach settlement website and enter your last name and the last six digits of your Social Security number in the search tool. You'll be able to see if you qualify as a class action member and can file a claim. You can also call the settlement administrator at 1-833-759-2982.
If you were impacted by the data breach, here's what you may be entitled to:
- Free credit monitoring or $125 cash payment — You can file a claim for up to 10 years of free credit monitoring from all three major credit monitoring bureaus or $125 if you already have credit monitoring.
- Other cash payments — You can also file a claim for up to $20,000 to cover time spent addressing your losses as a result of the breach.
- Free identity restoration services — You may also be eligible for at least seven years of services to remedy the effects of identity theft or fraud.
The best way to file your claim is through the website, www.EquifaxBreachSettlement.com. (Remember not to put your personal information into any other website except this one!)
14 Tips for Stopping Elder Financial Abuse in its Tracks
- Plan ahead to protect your assets and to ensure your wishes are followed. Talk to someone at your financial institution, an attorney, or financial advisor about the best options for you.
- Carefully choose a trustworthy person to act as your agent in all estate-planning matters.
- Lock up your checkbook, account statements and other sensitive information when others will be in your home.
- Never give personal information, including Social Security Number, account number or other financial information to anyone over the phone unless you initiated the call and the other party is trusted.
- Never pay a fee or taxes to collect sweepstakes or lottery “winnings.”
- Never rush into a financial decision. Ask for details in writing and get a second opinion.
- Consult with a financial advisor or attorney before signing any document you don’t understand.
- Get to know your banker and build a relationship with the people who handle your finances. They can look out for any suspicious activity related to your account.
- Check references and credentials before hiring anyone. Don’t allow workers to have access to information about your finances.
- Pay with checks and credit cards instead of cash to keep a paper trail.
- You have the right not to be threatened or intimidated. If you think someone close to you is trying to take control of your finances, call the state of Massachusetts Elder Abuse Hotline (1-800-922-2275), which operates on a seven days a week, 24 hours a day basis.
- If you believe you are a victim of financial abuse, be sure to:
- Talk to a trusted family member who has your best interests at heart, or to your clergy.
- Talk to your attorney, doctor or an officer at your bank.
- Contact Adult Protective Services in Massachusetts or your local police for help.
Ransomware: Know, Identify, Prevent
Ransomware is a type of malicious software (malware) that freezes your computer or mobile device until a sum of money is paid. It can destroy personal and business files, leading to stolen data and large financial losses. Learn more at the American Bankers Association.
IdentityTheft.gov is a helpful website
Saying that "Recovering from identity theft is easier with a plan," the Federal Trade Commission has published a website to aid victims of identity theft with step-by step action plans. Visit the site for more information.
Mobile Banking Security Tips
From the Massachusetts Financial Insurance Agency:
Mobile Banking is a popular tool that can simplify your life; a little common sense goes a long way in making it a safe and secure part of your daily life, while helping protect you from fraud and identity theft.
- Treat your mobile device like a portable computer
- Set the phone to require a password to power on the handset or awake it from sleep mode
- Don’t set up the application to automatically log you in to your bank account
- Never save passwords, account numbers, PIN numbers or answers to security questions on you mobile device
- Immediately tell your bank or mobile operator if you lose your phone
- Download and install antivirus software for your mobile device according to manufacturer recommendations
- Only download Apps from a trusted and approved source, endorsed by your mobile device provider
- Avoid “free” offer or ringtones – these emails may contain viruses or malware
- Emails/text messages from unknown sources asking you to update your personal information are to be avoided; do not reply to text messages from people or places you do not know
- Treat your mobile device like you would your wallet, cash or credit cards
- Keep track of your account transactions; review regularly for errors
- Only use Wi-Fi on your device when connected to password protected hot spots. Turn off any auto connect features – these could cause your phone to log into insecure wireless networks without your knowledge
- Log out of social networking sites and online banking when finished using them
- Install updated operating systems on your device as they become available – include any security updates
- Before upgrading or recycling your device, delete all personal/business details
12 Ways to Protect Your Mobile Device
Your mobile device provides convenient access to your email, bank and social media accounts. Unfortunately, it can potentially provide the same convenient access for criminals. Mansfield Bank recommends following these tips to keep your information – and your money – safe.
- Use the passcode lock on your smartphone and other devices. This will make it more difficult for thieves to access your information if your device is lost or stolen.
- Log out completely when you finish a mobile banking session.
- Protect your phone from viruses and malicious software, or malware, just like you do for your computer by installing mobile security software.
- Use caution when downloading apps. Apps can contain malicious software, worms, and viruses. Beware of apps that ask for unnecessary “permissions.”
- Download the updates for your phone and mobile apps.
- Avoid storing sensitive information like passwords or a social security number on your mobile device.
- Tell your financial institution immediately if you change your phone number or lose your mobile device.
- Be aware of shoulder surfers. The most basic form of information theft is observation. Be aware of your surroundings especially when you’re punching in sensitive information.
- Wipe your mobile device before you donate, sell or trade it using specialized software or using the manufacturer’s recommended technique. Some software allows you to wipe your device remotely if it is lost or stolen.
- Beware of mobile phishing. Avoid opening links and attachments in emails and texts, especially from senders you don’t know. And be wary of ads (not from your security provider) claiming that your device is infected.
- Watch out for public Wi-Fi. Public connections aren't very secure, so don’t perform banking transactions on a public network. If you need to access your account, try disabling the Wi-Fi and switching to your mobile network.
- Report any suspected fraud to your bank immediately.
7 Ways to Protect Yourself Online
Though the Internet has many advantages, it can also make users vulnerable to fraud, identity theft and other scams. According to Symantec, 12 adults become a victim of cybercrime every second. Mansfield Bank recommends the following tips to keep you safe online:
- Keep your computers and mobile devices up to date. Having the latest security software, web browser, and operating system are the best defenses against viruses, malware, and other online threats. Turn on automatic updates so you receive the newest fixes as they become available.
- Set strong passwords. A strong password is at least eight characters in length and includes a mix of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.
- Watch out for phishing scams. Phishing scams use fraudulent emails and websites to trick users into disclosing private account or login information. Do not click on links or open any attachments or pop-up screens from sources you are not familiar with.
- Keep personal information personal. Hackers can use social media profiles to figure out your passwords and answer those security questions in the password reset tools. Lock down your privacy settings and avoid posting things like birthdays, addresses, mother’s maiden name, etc. Be wary of requests to connect from people you do not know.
- Secure your internet connection. Always protect your home wireless network with a password. When connecting to public Wi-Fi networks, be cautious about what information you are sending over it.
- Shop safely. Before shopping online, make sure the website uses secure technology. When you are at the checkout screen, verify that the web address begins with https. Also, check to see if a tiny locked padlock symbol appears on the page.
8 Tips to Protect Your Identity
Identity theft continues to be one of the fastest growing crimes in the United States. In 2014, there were 12.7 million victims of identity fraud in the U.S., according to Javelin Strategy and Research. Mansfield Bank recommends following these tips to keep your information – and your money – safe.
- Don’t share your secrets. Don’t provide your Social Security number or account information to anyone who contacts you online or over the phone. Protect your PINs and passwords and do not share them with anyone. Use a combination of letters and numbers for your passwords and change them periodically. Do not reveal sensitive or personal information on social networking sites.
- Shred sensitive papers. Shred receipts, banks statements and unused credit card offers before throwing them away.
- Keep an eye out for missing mail. Fraudsters look for monthly bank or credit card statements or other mail containing your financial information. Consider enrolling in online banking to reduce the likelihood of paper statements being stolen. Also, don’t mail bills from your own mailbox with the flag up.
- Use online banking to protect yourself. Monitor your financial accounts regularly for fraudulent transactions. Sign up for text or email alerts from your bank for certain types of transactions, such as online purchases or transactions of more than $500.
- Monitor your credit report. Order a free copy of your credit report every four months from one of the three credit reporting agencies at annualcreditreport.com.
- Protect your computer. Make sure the virus protection software on your computer is active and up to date. When conducting business online, make sure your browser’s padlock or key icon is active. Also look for an “s” after the “http” to be sure the website is secure.
- Protect your mobile device. Use the passcode lock on your smartphone and other devices. This will make it more difficult for thieves to access your information if your device is lost or stolen. Before you donate, sell or trade your mobile device, be sure to wipe it using specialized software or using the manufacturer’s recommended technique. Some software allows you to wipe your device remotely if it is lost or stolen. Use caution when downloading apps, as they may contain malware and avoid opening links and attachments – especially for senders you don’t know.
- Report any suspected fraud to your bank immediately.
A Note About Debit Cards
Mansfield Bank uses Fraud Prevention technology on all our debit cards. If you notice any unfamiliar activity on your account, or if your card has been deactivated due to fraud concerns, please call our Customer Service Department at 508-851-3600. If you have a question during hours the bank is closed, call our 24-hour Fraud Prevention center at 800-262-2024.
Although no incidents have been reported from Mansfield Bank cardholders, other institutions have reported a telephone scam in which fraudsters have attempted to obtain personal information from their cardholders. Things to keep in mind if you should receive any questionable calls:
- Do not provide your personal information. In fact, make sure you initiate the contact, and the institution can verify your identity with answers to questions only you would know.
- Be wary that most attempts at fraud will include something that will concern or excite you into action.
- To verify whether a call or email is legitimately from Mansfield Bank, simply call us at 508-851-3600 or email us at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Lastly, if you have been the victim of a scam, file a complaint at local law enforcement and of course, notify us at Mansfield Bank.
Protect yourself from messages like these:
- "We suspect an unauthorized transaction on your account. To ensure that your account is not compromised, please click the link below and confirm your identity."
- "During our regular verification of accounts, we couldn't verify your information. Please click here to update and verify your information."
A "Phishing" scam involves Internet fraudsters sending a message like the two above to lure personal information (credit card numbers, bank account information, Social Security number, passwords, or other sensitive information) from unsuspecting victims. Visit this link for important advice about "phishing."
Malware is short for "malicious software." It includes viruses and spyware that get installed on your computer, phone, or mobile device without your consent. To reduce your risk of downloading malware:
- Keep your security software updated. At a minimum, your computer should have anti-virus and anti-spyware software, and a firewall. Set your security software, internet browser, and operating system (like Windows or Mac OS) to update automatically.
- Don't click on any links or open any attachments in emails unless you know who sent it and what it is. Clicking on links and opening attachments – even in emails that seem to be from friends or family – can install malware on your computer.
- Download and install software only from websites you know and trust. Downloading free games, file-sharing programs, and customized toolbars may sound appealing, but free software can come with malware.
- See the full list of helpful tips at onguardonline.gov.
Identity theft is a serious crime. It can disrupt your finances, credit history, and reputation, and take time, money, and patience to resolve. Identity theft happens when someone steals your personal information and uses it without your permission.
The FTC's website has useful explanations of how to protect your information and how to respond if it is stolen.