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ITS suggests employees worried about Equifax breach consider identity fraud protection

Information Technology Services recommends that WVU employees concerned about the Equifax data breach consider a voluntary insurance benefit that the University offers to benefit-eligible employees for identity-theft protection. PrivacyArmor costs $7.95 per person/month or $13.95 per family/month, with direct billing options. This service cannot be set up for automatic deductions by Payroll, but faculty and staff may enroll online at any time. You do not need to wait for the next open enrollment period.

PrivacyArmor includes free credit monitoring, monthly credit score, an annual credit report and a service to make replacing the contents of a lost wallet quick and easy. Questions about this coverage can be directed to Benefits@mail.wvu.edu. The University is exploring the possibility of extending the plan to students.

Equifax, one of the nation’s three credit reporting companies, says as many as 143 million U.S. consumers may be affected by a security incident that compromised Social Security Numbers (SSNs). The company has an online service to check whether yours was one of them.

If you are concerned about this breach or your credit score, you may consider setting up a fraud alert, which will go to all three credit bureaus, Equifax, TransUnion and Experian.

You may also consider running a free credit report with each of the three reporting companies through a single website, annualcreditreport.com. Equifax, TransUnion and Experian all offer the ability to review your reports and then secure them. 

The credit bureaus can work with you to correct any errors or to freeze your credit if you choose. The service can be completed online or by phone, but West Virginia residents must pay a $5.30 fee. A freeze prevents others from checking your credit report or opening accounts using your name and SSN. So, if you plan to seek a loan, open a credit card or otherwise expand your current credit options later, you will need to unfreeze the account before doing so. Each credit bureau operates independently, so ITS recommends that employees who choose to freeze or lock their accounts do so with each of the three agencies.

To learn more about protecting your personal information, visit DefendYourData.wvu.edu.