(November 17, 2021) Meritus Federal Credit Union (“Meritus”) is issuing notice of a recent event that may affect the security of some of our members personal information. Although we are unaware of any actual misuse of this information, we are providing information about the event, the response to this event, and steps affected individuals may take to better protect against the possibility of identity theft and fraud, should affected individuals feel it is necessary to do so.

What Happened. On or around July 28, 2021, we identified suspicious activity related to an employee’s email account. We immediately launched an investigation into the nature and scope of the event. Through our investigation, we learned that an unknown individual accessed an employee’s email account for a short period of time on July 28, 2021.

What Information Was Affected. We conducted a thorough review of the affected data to determine what types of information were involved and to whom it related. While the specific data elements vary for each potentially affected individual, the scope of information potentially involved includes individuals’ name, date of birth, Social Security number, driver’s license number or state identification number, financial account information, payment card information, and limited medical and health insurance information.

What We are Doing. We take this event and the security of your information seriously. Upon discovering the suspicious activity, we promptly took steps to investigate, respond, and assess the security of our systems. We reviewed and enhanced our information security policies and procedures to reduce the risk of a similar event occurring in the future. We are also mailing notice letters to the individuals identified as potentially impacted for whom we have valid mailing addresses. If an individual did not receive a letter but would like to know if they are affected, they may call our dedicated assistance line, detailed below.

What Affected Individuals Can Do. As a precautionary measure, individuals are encouraged to remain vigilant against incidents of identity theft by reviewing account statements and free credit reports for unusual activity and to detect errors for the next twelve to twenty-four months. Additional resources can be found below in the Steps You Can Take to Help Protect Your Personal Information.

For More Information. If you have additional questions, Meritus may be contacted at 1-855-675-3140, Monday through Friday, during the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Central Time (excluding U.S. holidays). You may also write to Meritus at 515 Guilbeau Road, Lafayette, LA 70506.  

Steps You Can Take To Help Protect Your Personal Information

Monitor Your Accounts

Under U.S. law, a consumer is entitled to one free credit report annually from each of the three major credit reporting bureaus, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. To order your free credit report, visit www.annualcreditreport.com or call, toll-free, 1-877-322-8228. You may also directly contact the three major credit reporting bureaus listed below to request a free copy of your credit report.

Consumers have the right to place an initial or extended “fraud alert” on a credit file at no cost. An initial fraud alert is a 1-year alert that is placed on a consumer’s credit file. Upon seeing a fraud alert display on a consumer’s credit file, a business is required to take steps to verify the consumer’s identity before extending new credit. If you are a victim of identity theft, you are entitled to an extended fraud alert, which is a fraud alert lasting seven years. Should you wish to place a fraud alert, please contact any one of the three major credit reporting bureaus listed below.

As an alternative to a fraud alert, consumers have the right to place a “credit freeze” on a credit report, which will prohibit a credit bureau from releasing information in the credit report without the consumer’s express authorization. The credit freeze is designed to prevent credit, loans, and services from being approved in your name without your consent. However, you should be aware that using a credit freeze to take control over who gets access to the personal and financial information in your credit report may delay, interfere with, or prohibit the timely approval of any subsequent request or application you make regarding a new loan, credit, mortgage, or any other account involving the extension of credit. Pursuant to federal law, you cannot be charged to place or lift a credit freeze on your credit report. To request a security freeze, you will need to provide the following information:

  1. Full name (including middle initial as well as Jr., Sr., II, III, etc.);
  2. Social Security number;
  3. Date of birth;
  4. Addresses for the prior two to five years;
  5. Proof of current address, such as a current utility bill or telephone bill;
  6. A legible photocopy of a government-issued identification card (state driver’s license or ID card, military identification, etc.); and
  7. A copy of either the police report, investigative report, or complaint to a law enforcement agency concerning identity theft if you are a victim of identity theft.

Should you wish to place a fraud alert or credit freeze, please contact the three major credit reporting bureaus listed below:

Equifax

Experian

TransUnion

https://www.equifax.com/personal/credit-report-services/

https://www.experian.com/help/

https://www.transunion.com/credit-help

1-888-298-0045

1-888-397-3742

1-833-395-6938

Equifax Fraud Alert, P.O. Box 105069 Atlanta, GA 30348-5069

Experian Fraud Alert, P.O. Box 9554, Allen, TX 75013

TransUnion Fraud Alert, P.O. Box 2000, Chester, PA 19016

Equifax Credit Freeze, P.O. Box 105788 Atlanta, GA 30348-5788

Experian Credit Freeze, P.O. Box 9554, Allen, TX 75013

TransUnion Credit Freeze, P.O. Box 160, Woodlyn, PA 19094

Additional Information

You may further educate yourself regarding identity theft, fraud alerts, credit freezes, and the steps you can take to protect your personal information by contacting the consumer reporting bureaus, the Federal Trade Commission, or your state Attorney General. The Federal Trade Commission may be reached at: 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20580; www.identitytheft.gov; 1-877-ID-THEFT (1-877-438-4338); and TTY: 1-866-653-4261. The Federal Trade Commission also encourages those who discover that their information has been misused to file a complaint with them. You can obtain further information on how to file such a complaint by way of the contact information listed above. You have the right to file a police report if you ever experience identity theft or fraud. Please note that in order to file a report with law enforcement for identity theft, you will likely need to provide some proof that you have been a victim. Instances of known or suspected identity theft should also be reported to law enforcement and your state Attorney General.