Below are some credit protection options in response to the Equifax breach. Please see the links provided for more information regarding what is described in each option.
- Equifax has removed the language stating that any legal action is forfeited. Therefore, you can sign up for their free identity theft protection and credit file monitoring service for a year and have the option at year end to pay for the service. Go to equifaxsecurity2017.com to check if you were affected by the breach.
2.Sign up for Credit Karma, a free credit monitoring service, which will allow you to flag any fraudulent activity: https://www.creditkarma.com/auth/logon
3. Alternatively to using Equifax’s free service you may use a pay service, such as Lifelock, to monitor your credit reports and identity theft protection. See https://www.lifelock.com/
4. Placing a Credit Freeze – this is the most involved process, as you must contact each of the 3 credit reporting companies to freeze your credit, which means no new accounts can be opened without the password you will create during your call with the agency. However, this does not stop illegal activity on your currently established credit cards or bank accounts. You manage thaws and re-freezes via web portals maintained by the credit bureaus, with credentials they assign you. There are fees for this service. Below are the phone numbers for each reporting company:
- Equifax – www.equifax.com – 1.888.766.0008 or 1.866.447.7559
- Experian – www.experian.com – 1.888.397.3742
- TransUnion – www.tuc.com – 1.888.909.8872 or 1.800.680.7289
The following is information from Charles Schwab regarding their Protection Services
If you have further concerns about the security of your Schwab account(s) you may do the following:
- Set up Voice ID Authentication or verbal passwords as a means of authentication when you call into Schwab Alliance
- Change passwords to ensure strong online security, such as using a unique id/password combination on SchwabAlliance.com
If you would like to establish VoiceID and/or verbal passwords, you may do so by calling Schwab Alliance at 800-515-2157.
Charles Schwab Security Guarantee:
We want you to have the highest level of confidence when you do business with Schwab. So we offer you this simple guarantee: Schwab will cover 100% of any losses in any of your Schwab accounts due to unauthorized activity.
The highest levels of security are only possible when we work together. To ensure your protection under this guarantee, it is your responsibility to:
- Safeguard your account access information.1 If you share this information with anyone, we’ll consider their activities to have been authorized by you.
- Report any unauthorized transactions to us as quickly as possible.2 If you suspect you are a victim of fraud, please contact us immediately at 888-3-SCHWAB.
There may be other individuals to whom you grant authority in your account. Their activities in your account will also be considered authorized.3
Here are some FAQs regarding The Schwab Security Guarantee:
Do I have to do anything to get this protection?
No. Schwab automatically provides this protection.
How does this guarantee work?
If you suspect you have been a victim of unauthorized activity in your Schwab account, notify Schwab at 888-3-SCHWAB immediately. We will promptly review your claim and assist you in taking measures necessary to protect you from further loss. You will be required to complete a notarized affidavit of fraud and to identify items of unauthorized activity.
Does the guarantee apply to Schwab Bank?
Yes. The guarantee applies to all Schwab Bank products. If you suspect you have been a victim of unauthorized activity in your Schwab Bank account, notify Schwab at 888-3-SCHWAB immediately. If an unauthorized advance is made on your Schwab Bank loan account, you will not be responsible for repaying the amount of the unauthorized advance or any related interest or transaction charge.
Does the guarantee apply to my Schwab retirement plan accounts?
This guarantee applies to all individual retirement accounts held at Schwab. It also applies to individual accounts of employees participating in employer-sponsored retirement, equity compensation, deferred compensation and other benefit plans (“Employee Benefit Plan Account”), where Schwab maintains the account and holds the account assets. However, keep in mind that transactions initiated by your employer, third-party plan administrator (other than Schwab Retirement Plan Services, Inc. or Schwab Retirement Plan Services Company), trustee (other than Schwab Bank) or each of their employees, representatives or agents who have access to your account, or other people to whom you have granted authority to access your account or to act on your behalf, are considered authorized and not covered.
Does the guarantee apply to accounts managed by independent investment advisors doing business with Schwab Advisor Services?
Yes. The coverage applies to unauthorized account activity in client accounts managed by independent investment advisors. However, keep in mind that transactions initiated by your investment advisor or other people to whom you have granted authority to act on your behalf are considered authorized and not covered.
Does the Guarantee apply to my annuities or 529 college savings plan accounts at Schwab?
No. Annuities and 529 college savings plan accounts are not included because the assets are maintained by or held at a third party and Schwab cannot be responsible for any failure of those third parties to safeguard your information or protect your account.
- “Account access information” includes your login ID, password, or any other information used by Schwab to authenticate you; as well as payment devices such as credit cards, debit cards, and checks. We may hold you responsible if we determine that you shared this information, or unauthorized activity was caused by your fraudulent conduct or gross negligence.
- Reimbursement under the guarantee requires your timely reporting of unauthorized activity to Schwab. Schwab will not be liable for additional or increased losses resulting from a failure to report unauthorized activity in a timely manner. Different transactions have different reporting deadlines. More details are available in your account agreements, statements, and trade confirmations.
- “Authorized” refers to transactions and other activity initiated by third parties (who are not Schwab employees or Schwab companies), including the employees or agents of any business or any investment advisor to whom you have granted authority of any type over your account, including, for example, the authority to manage your account, or the authority to act under any other power of attorney you may have granted. Authorized actions also include activity initiated by your employer, your plan trustee (other than Schwab Bank), your third-party plan administrator (other than Schwab Retirement Plan Services, Inc. or Schwab Retirement Plan Services Company) and their employees, representatives or agents that have access to your Employee Benefit Plan Account. Schwab will also not be liable for the failure of those third parties to safeguard your information or access to your account.
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