FTC Warns Of Vishing Increase Following Equifax Breach

Posted on October 2, 2017 by Admin

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is sending out warnings to consumers about an uptick in vishing following the recent data breach of one of the three major credit bureaus, Equifax. Vishing is a form of phishing, where the scammers place a phone call to a potential victim requesting sensitive or personal data. The warning emphasizes that any calls from anyone claiming to be from Equifax are fraudulent.

The agency also is providing additional tips to help consumers after the breach that allowed cybercriminals to access names, address, social security numbers, birth dates, and some credit card numbers of about 44% of the U.S. consumer population.

  • Don’t trust the caller ID that appears on the phone display. Scammers can easily spoof, or imitate actual numbers on those displays to make you think it’s from a legitimate caller.
  • Hang up on robocalls without pressing numbers or saying anything. Don’t worry. A robot won’t be offended.
  • Consider freezing your credit. This is reasonable if you don’t need to provide access to your reports to anyone. However, it doesn’t prevent you from temporarily unfreezing when you do apply for credit or fill out an application for housing, for example.
  • Monitor all payment card charges. Since credit reports include card numbers for your accounts, it’s possible these thieves have them all. So, check statements regularly and report anything that looks unfamiliar to the card issuer immediately.
  • Check your credit reports on a regular basis. You can get them at the annualcreditreport.com website at no charge. Get one every four months to stay on top of them.
  • File your income taxes early. The earlier you can do this, the less likely someone can do it first and get your tax return. So far, the IRS does not have any sort of protection mechanism in place for this. It’s up to you to take the first steps.

Remember that the more information criminals have about you, the easier it is to not only trick you via the telephone and steal from you, but they can also craft very realistic phishing email messages and texts too. So be on the lookout for those as well. It’s up to each one of us to be proactive about protecting our finances and our identities.

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