Consumer service announcement: 1 out of 2 affected by Equifax breach; credit freeze option

equifax-security-breach-credit-freeze-options

Consider your options in light of this terrible news where 1 out of 2 consumers is affected by Equifax security breach on July 29, 2017.


This is crazy and unprecedented in scope.

Overview of what happened:

On July 29, 2017, Equifax discovered a cybersecurity breach/hack incident which “potentially impacted approximately 143 million U.S. consumers. Criminals exploited Equifax’s U.S. website application vulnerability to gain access to certain files which includes names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers. Criminals also accessed credit card numbers for approximately 209,000 U.S. consumers and certain dispute documents with personal identifying information for approximately 182,000 U.S. consumers.” – Equifax.

It’s important to note this is what Equifax officially stated but we the people and our government need to dig deeper to investigate to see if this statement is accurate and full disclosure was provided in a timely manner to protect consumers from identity theft.

Write to your representatives to demand an investigation and answers to questions such as:

-How invasive was the breach?
-How extensive was the breach?
-Who was involved in the breach?
-What reforms will be taken so that this does not happen again?

Also demand that the executives who knew about the hack beforehand, and especially those who sold stock, be questioned and investigated.

These companies(TransUnion, Equifax and Experian) don’t think of us as customers. They think of us as products. They get lenders and others to send over our payment histories to them, aggregate it, and resell the data.

TransUnion, Equifax and Experian answer to no one unless we put a stop to this practice and implement a 3rd party oversight of their security practices to secure our private information, otherwise security breach incidents like this will continued.

“But perhaps most despicable of all, at this very moment, U.S. Senators are weighing legislation to take away our right to hold companies like Equifax accountable in court (S.J.Res.47), and the House of Representatives is considering legislation to make life easier for credit-reporting agencies that screw up (H.R. 2359). This cannot stand. Repealing crucial consumer protections as new financial scandals break every week would send a clear signal to bad actors like Equifax that they can continue to plunder consumers for profit. We call on Congress to IMMEDIATELY withdraw both S.J. Res 47 and H.R. 2359, and to hold hearings to investigate Equifax’s response to this cyber attack.” – Moveon.org

View our current laws for corporate data breach by state. However, what we need to adopt is a law requiring a single breach notification standard for sensitive personal data similar to the European Union’s GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). This will set a data breach notification bar for all businesses of “not later than 72 hours” after a data controller has become aware of an intrusion.

Do you value protecting your personal information? If yes, consider exercising your consumer and democratic voting rights: here’s how you can help to begin the process of getting tougher consumer protection laws enacted…

Tell Congress to do their jobs to make stringent laws to hold Equifax and other companies like them accountable:

(1) https://petitions.moveon.org/sign/congress-hold-equifax
(2) Federal Trade Commission(FTC) https://www.change.org/p/federal-trade-commission-investigate-equifax
(3) https://consumersunion.org/equifax/
(4) email and write letters to your local and state representatives demanding accountability and new laws to protect consumer personal information

+ Insightful and worrisome Equifax cyber security lapses:

https://www.scribd.com/mobile/document/358810691/Sen-Warner-Asks-FTC-to-Probe-Equifax

+ Egregious negligence? Horrific news: Equifax CEO Richard Smith’s decision to hire Susan Mauldin as Chief of Security Officier(CSO) of the company’s data security with qualifications of degrees in music(she does not have the cybersecurity education to competently work as CSO):

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/equifax-ceo-hired-a-music-major-as-the-companys-chief-security-officer-2017-09-15

+ How Equifax hackers could file taxes in your name and get a refund from the IRS:
http://www.marketwatch.com/story/how-the-equifax-breach-could-impact-you-during-tax-season-2017-09-08

Five Steps You Can Do Now To Protect Your Credit Data

Here are five steps that you can take right now to protect your personal information from being misused. Caution: you risk financial chaos by doing nothing. Take action.

(1) Find out if your information may have been exposed. You can do this by entering your last name and the last six digits of your Social Security number at Equifax’s website. The site will tell you if you’ve been affected by the data breach.

(2) You can enroll for a free year of credit monitoring. Whether or not your information was exposed, U.S. Equifax consumers are eligible for a year of free credit monitoring and other services. The site will give you a date when you can come back to enroll.

(3) Contact the nationwide credit reporting companies and review your free credit reports from each of them. You are entitled to a free credit report every 12 months from each of the three major consumer reporting companies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). You can request a copy from AnnualCreditReport.com. Be sure to monitor your accounts for any unusual activity. Accounts on your credit report that you didn’t open, incorrect personal information on your credit reports, and credit inquiries from companies you’ve never contacted are all potential signs of fraud or identity theft.

(4) Consider placing a credit freeze. Placing a credit freeze on your reports makes it more difficult for a thief to open a new account in your name. Remember that a credit freeze cannot prevent a thief from making changes to your existing accounts.

The are more than 8 million new victims of identity theft each year in the U.S. Many of these victims find that crooks have used stolen personal information like Social Security numbers to open new accounts in their victim’s name. A security freeze gives consumers the choice to “freeze” or lock access to their credit file against anyone trying to open up a new account or to get new credit in their name.

When a security freeze is in place at all three major credit bureaus, an identity thief cannot open a new account because the potential creditor or seller of services will not be able to check the credit file. When the consumer is applying for credit, he or she can lift the freeze temporarily using a PIN so legitimate applications for credit or services can be processed.

(5) Consider setting a fraud alert. This requires creditors to verify your identity before issuing a credit card, opening a new account or increasing a credit limit on an existing account. A fraud alert will not prevent a lender from opening credit in your name the same way a freeze does, but it does require lenders to take additional steps to verify your identity first.
—Emily Sullivan

If you don’t take any identity theft prevention steps, this is what could happen:

Financial identity theft

Because the Equifax credit reports contained so much personal information, including Social Security numbers and financial account information, fraudsters could use the report for reasons including new account fraud, medical identity theft — using insurance information to have a medical procedure, which can create confusion on the true insured person’s medical file for years — or tax fraud, Levin said.

The fraudster could open credit cards and start utility bills in your name, which would go unpaid, and into collections, which could ruin your credit score, said Adrian Nazari, the founder and chief executive of Credit Sesame, a credit monitoring service. As a result, it could become difficult to be approved for home loans, car loans, jobs and desirable interest rates in the future, he said.

Bloomberg reporter Drew Armstrong wrote this week about his experience when his identity was stolen, which took three years to resolve. In the meantime, the man posing as Armstrong opened accounts in his name at Wells Fargo and went to the Delano Hotel in Miami Beach.

Fraud affected some 15.4 million consumers in 2016, or roughly 6.15% of all consumers, up 16% from 5.3% of consumers in 2015, according to Javelin, a security firm, in a report sponsored by security company LifeLock (which obviously has a vested interest in the findings.) The mean amount it cost per fraud victim was $1,038, according to Javelin.

Incidents of new account fraud have risen especially quickly, Javelin found, because so much personal information has been compromised in data breaches over time. New account fraud also takes the longest to resolve, said Al Pascual, a senior vice president and research director at the security firm Javelin. “If you don’t take steps to actively protect your identity, you’re basically playing Russian roulette,” Pascual said.

Criminal identity theft

The fraudster could even commit a crime and turn in fraudulent identification information, which could mistakenly give you a criminal record.

That’s what happened to Jessamyn Lovell, an artist whose identity was stolen when she lost her wallet in 2011, in the San Francisco Bay area. She didn’t realize what had happened until a year later when the woman who stole her driver’s license checked into a hotel under her name. It seemed fishy to San Francisco’s Financial Crimes unit, which alerted Lovell.

It took years to track down and prosecute the woman; Lovell even had to hire a private investigator. By the time the whole situation was sorted out, the fraudster had shoplifted at Whole Foods, and Lovell had to fly to the Bay Area to appear in court (she had since moved to Albuquerque), to explain it wasn’t actually her.

Now, Lovell is training to become a private investigator herself, and she encourages anyone who suspects fraud, even a small credit-card charge, to report it right away. “It’s easy to miss or dismiss,” she said. “Get it taken care of.” Of course, preventing those situations from happening, if you’re able to, is even better, she said.

Consumers Union’s Guide To Security Credit Freeze Protection Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions about security credit freeze protection.

Addition reading:

+ Can we trust companies to secure our private personal data? Cybersecurity experts weigh in on Equifax’s failure to install software fix

+ Incompetence: Equifax used the word ‘admin’ for the login and password of a database

+ Impacted by the breach? Wanna Sue Equifax? Here Are All Your Options

+ Will consumers ever find out how much Equifax spends on cyber security versus on lining their deep pockets?
Do we need laws to create a cyber security standard for all companies to protect our private information? Equifax’s Failure to Apply Security Patches Enabled Massive Hack.

+ The Equifax Breach and 5 Years of Missed Warning Signs.

+ Massive Equifax data breach prompts outrage, investigations, bills to ban credit freeze fees.

+ We Need a Law Requiring Faster Disclosure of Data Breaches—Now.

+ Finally, Some Answers From Equifax to Your Data Breach Questions.

+ 3 Equifax Executives Sold Stock Days After Hack That Wasn’t Disclosed For A Month

+ Equifax CIO and CSO Retire Amid Confusion Over Patching.

+ Equifax data breach: Beware these 3 scams as a result of the breach

+ Elizabeth Warren Sets Her Sights on Equifax

+ Read the latest news regarding Equifax’s security breach.

Most likely, you’ll have family and friends affected by Equifax’s security breach incident so share this important information and prevention tips with them.

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Pre-Season Ski & Snowboard Conditioning Boot Camp

Get in shape for the ski season to prevent injuries; boot camp starts Monday Oct 21st. Register now!

  • Reap the most benefits from a 60 min workout
  • Condition muscles for skiing/riding
  • Get outside of the gym & change up your routine
  • Enjoy a fun and challenging workout

when & prices:

Option 1: Monday & Wednesday, 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM; 2x a week, for 5 weeks, from Monday Oct 21 to Wednesday Nov 20. Cost: $150 (a set of 10 classes)

Option 2: Saturdays only, 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM; 1x a week on Saturdays, for 4 weeks, from Saturday Oct 26 to Saturday Nov 16. Cost: $60 (a set of 4 classes); supplement your gym workouts

Option 3: Sundays only, 10:00AM to 11:00AM; 1x a week on Sundays, for 4 weeks, from Saturday Oct 27 to Sunday Nov 17. Cost: $60 (a set of 4 classes); supplement your gym workouts

Option 4: Weekends Only (Saturday & Sunday), 10:00AM to11:00AM; 2x a week on Saturday & Sunday for 4 weeks from Saturday Oct 26 to Sunday Nov 17. Cost: $120 (a set of 8 classes)

Includes:

  • T-Shirt
  • Pre & Post Fitness Assessment
  • Strength Training Plan
  • Nutrition Plan
  • Completed Program Celebration Party($20 RSVP)
  • single class drop-in rate: $25
  • Give your favorite person a gift certificate to our boot camp.

where: The FIT Potato Studio, 6894 Village Parkway Dublin, CA 94568

 

Are you in shape for skiing/snowboarding?

When October arrives, there’s less than seven weeks left until the start of the 2013-14 ski season. Are you in shape? Skiing and snowboarding is one of the most demanding sports, both mentally and physically. Whether on a ski holiday or skiing 30 days per year, sign up for our preseason ski conditioning boot camp to increase your enjoyment, skiing performance and help prevent common skiing and snowboarding injuries.

Common ski injuries involve the knee, particularly, a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury(see diagram below: source wiki)

acl knee injury - wiki pic at http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Knee_diagram.svg

Other common ski injuries involve ligament sprains, soft tissue bruising and joint injuries. For snowboarders, common injuries typically involve fractures(broken bones), joint injuries such as dislocations (when the joint surfaces are completely torn apart) and subluxations (when the joint surfaces are moved out of position, but not completely). Most injuries are the result of poor or no conditioning.

Skiing and snowboarding are dynamic activities that recruit multiple muscle groups. These activities are carried out on even and uneven surfaces and place high levels of stress on muscles and joints which increases the likelihood of injuries. Incorporating functional exercises to strengthen muscle groups of the quadriceps, gluteals and hamstrings help to prevent injuries and get you in shape for the ski/ride season.

class description:

Each class will focus on snowsport-specific exercises integrating strengthening, balance/proprioceptive, agility, plyometrics, flexibility/yoga and core training.

learn & develop:

  • proper knee alignment through training
  • functional balance
  • plyometrics for power
  • interval training for stamina
  • abs/core strength
  • stretching/yoga for increased range of motion and relaxation

Each class is unique. You will get a great workout that will get you in shape for the ski/ride season. We maximize training effectiveness by combining circuits, interval courses, drills, calisthenics and functional ski/snowboard-specific exercises(incorporating typical athletic stances, and engaging all of your muscles in movement patterns typical of how you would move when skiing/snowboarding).

The exercise format is fun and easy to follow and can be modified to any level: beginner to advanced. You’ll get in great shape and meet other like-minded ski and ride enthusiasts.

pre and post assessments included:

Included in this class is a fitness performance assessment that will take place on the first day(to set a baseline) and last day of each class(to measure your improvements). Fitness Assessments include a body composition test (body fat testing) and taking your body circumference measurements.

coaches:

Francisco Gomez holds a B.S. in Exercise Physiology; currently earning a Masters in Exercise Physiology; National Exercise & Sports Trainers Association(NESTA) Certified Trainer and award winning college coach. Francisco enjoys skiing and snowboarding at Squaw Valley.

 

Juan Gomez holds a B.S. in Business Marketing; currently earning a Masters in Exercise Physiology; top running athlete and cross-country running coach. Juan’s favorite Tahoe resort for snowboarding is Heavenly.

“No Time Like Now”

To quote a phrase, it’s never too late to get started. According to Linda Crockett, education director for the Professional Ski Instructors of America and the American Association of Snowboard Instructors, “the six weeks before the season are the most important in strength training and anaerobic conditioning. Even if you haven’t been conscientious about training in the off-season, you should focus on a regime during these fleeting days before the snow flies. After all, you can’t get up to the slopes and expect your body to do something that it can’t even do on dry land,” she says.

Pre-season training is for everyone. Get fit and prevent injuries.

Our fitness assessments are included. Our workouts are different each day, our classes are never overcrowded, and our sessions are closed to the public once we’ve begun.

to register 

1. Submit the registration form below. Pay $20 to reserve your spot; the remainder of the balance is due on the first day of class. You will receive an e-mail confirmation within 24 hours that you have been registered.

2. If you’d like to try out the bootcamp, we offer a $25 drop-in class option. Keep in mind that the more frequently you go, you’ll get better results, and you’ll save more when you select one of our bootcamp packages described above.

*Please note that classes are non-transferable. Classes do not roll over and credit will not be refunded for unused classes.

For questions or to order a gift certificate: drop us a line via  or call (925) 487-6115.

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*what to bring to class

Bring a water bottle, a towel, sunscreen(for our Saturday morning classes), gloves if you don’t like putting your hands in the grass, comfortable layers of clothes and athletic shoes. Most helpful is to bring your unworried mind, high energy and positive attitude!