Ada elections official gives advice after identity stolen

Ada County Deputy Clerk Phil McGrane is offering advice after his identity was stolen.

BOISE - Following the Equifax data breach, a lot of people are wondering if their personal information is secure.

Security experts say instead of just worrying, you should make sure to change your passwords and pin numbers right away.

Ada County Deputy Clerk Phil McGrane is sharing that advice after he and his wife had their identities stolen and bank accounts drained last week.

McGrane says the identity thieves had much more than just a password, and actually called his bank to get into his accounts.            

He says it's scary the amount of information they were able to get in a short amount of time.

"They were able to provide my Social Security Number, date of birth, my wife's name, her date of birth, all sorts of extremely personal information and information we generally use for security verification purposes as a result,” said McGrane. “By them calling into the bank, they were able to reset the password and pin numbers to my online account and get access to my online account."

RELATED: Equifax accidentally sent data breach victims to a fake website

McGrane says the identity thieves created a fake e-mail using his name, and changed his contact settings online so he wouldn’t receive any information about suspicious activity.

The thieves then raised his account limits, transferred funds, and withdrew large amounts of money, all in a short period.

McGrane says the culprits had one of his card numbers and used it to access many ATMs out of state. He says it was very clear they knew what they were doing, knew how much was there, and what the limits were to get it out.

His advice to others is to stay on top of protecting your information, especially after the huge Equifax data breach.

“The few hours or whatever it takes to update your passwords to protect your credit, it's well worth it not just the hassle, but also the sense of insecurity and the risk that it poses," said McGrane.

McGrane warns that once personal information like your Social Security Number or date of birth are out there, you can’t change them.

His advice, take action to protect your information today and regularly change your passwords and pin numbers.

For more information on protecting yourself against identity fraud click here

© 2017 KTVB-TV


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