On September 7th Equifax announced a cyber-security incident that could impact as many as 143 million people in the U.S. Criminals accessed some of Equifax’s data that included names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, driver’s license numbers and credit card numbers.
The breach highlights an important challenge for the financial industry and for Neighborhood Trust’s nearly 7,000 low- and middle-income clients, most of whom are already struggling to get ahead. For the millions of Americans living paycheck to paycheck and without an emergency fund, identity theft and stolen credit card information can quickly escalate to a cash flow crisis and financial disaster. For Neighborhood Trust clients, an incident like this can threaten to undermine the precious trust we have helped them to build with financial services, since even when they do all the right things, financial institutions fail to protect them. Our work of supporting these individuals and families with a trusted relationship and connection to safe financial services remains more relevant than ever.
That’s why we’ll continue to advocate for our clients, as well as empower them with the financial literacy and capability they need to advocate for themselves. Our programs teams have reviewed all options and resources we can provide to those affected, and have developed a coordinated response to the specific credit issues that may arise as a result of the breach. As always, our expert Financial Counselors will remain available to review credit reports as well as educate clients on the actions they can take today to protect their credit and respond to unlawful use of their personal information.