In the wake of the Equifax breach I sat down with Steve Yonych, Assistant Vice President Branch Manger of Litchfield Bancorp, to get his take on the events that transpired and what banking customers can do to better protect themselves.

He learned about the breach when the majority of the US did and he expressed the reality that “Unfortunately in the banking industry, in the cyber world, it’s happening more and more.” With the likes of Target, Home Depot, Anthem, and Yahoo! making the list of other memorable breaches.

As Steve named breached companies of the ever growing list, he said “about four years ago I started getting identity theft protection for me; my family. It’s just something that I know it’s not a matter of if it’s gonna happen, but more a matter of when. So I will make sure myself and my family are protected and I tell everyone that I know. It’s a good idea and they should obviously do it as well.”

When asked about how customers have been taking the news, it was mentioned that it’s been fairly quiet on his end and doesn’t know if there is worry among the customer base, or that the relative silence is a result of a lot of information being made available online. It’s the customer educating themselves that Steve believes is why it’s been pretty quiet in his world, which is good.

Our conversation turned toward the impact of the fallout from the Equifax breach and how it would affect banking customers.

Steve answered by giving an example of what he does daily. He says you have to be aware of everything on a daily basis. He checks his accounts twice a day; one in the morning and once before he leaves to go home “… just to make sure nothing crazy comes up. I’ve had some things come up and I found them quickly and had them resolved within an hour.”

Vigilance and education is the future of the informed customer in this world of data breaches. Steve likened our jobs to those of the hackers. We go to work every day, just as they do, only it’s their job “to steal identities hacking into places and this is what they want to do.” It’s also part of our jobs to now be aware of what’s going on, monitor your credit, monitor all of your accounts.

Some of the things to be aware of, Yonych mentioned, is to keep on top of the scams. Scams like the “Yes” scam. He explained it as someone calling him up and asking if this is “Steve Yonych?” and him replying “Yes it is.” They will record that response “… and then they use that as access to the IVR a voice recognition system to try to get access to your account, so just being the informed consumer is where I think everyone needs to be more cognizant.”

With regards to tools and resources, Steve and his team are armed with information to give their customers for Equifax, the phone numbers needed, email addresses and what site to go to.

When all the dust settles from Equifax’s breach, Yonych wants “Just awareness. I mean if not, then I don’t think it’s ever going to stop… because there are people out there that I said that this is their job to get into [company systems]. He wants people to understand that “… they have some skin in the game…” just like they do. If a customer sees something suspicious, they need to notify their bank. That’s where they need help, he said. Banks can’t “… monitor every single customer’s account every second of every day.”

According to Yonych, consumers have sixty days to make a claim if there’s anything amiss on their account. A business is much less. He states “businesses, they have twenty-four to forty-eight hours to make a claim or else it gets denied.” Steve continued, regarding businesses, that “They’re so wrapped up, especially if so many people doing the business themselves, they’re so focused on getting jobs and business and money. Are they really looking at their acccounts? I’m telling you they’re not.”

The conversation moved to the customer making purchases and how to go about it wisely. Places like a restaurant are OK for using a debit card to make a purchase because it’s a point of sale and you know where to go to in case anything happens. Steve continued with “All Internet purchases should remain with a credit card. No ifs, no ands, no buts about it and let the bank fight to get their money back not you with yours.”

Other tips include checking your credit score and he and I know of someone who can assist in restoring credit if something has happened. Steve also wants people to know that they should take advantage of free credit monitoring if they have accounts with the larger companies like Discover or Capital One. To add, he states, regarding Equifax itself, “They will be willing to pay for your Identity theft protection for one full year. Take advantage of that as well. It’s free.”

Wrapping things up with our time together, Steve offered one last piece of wisdom for people worried about what’s going with this incident and that, to paraphrase, is you can’t know everything. It’s good to ask questions and don’t be afraid to do so as others may be wondering the same thing. You educate yourself that way and it snowballs into others educating themselves.

It is good to know that there are people such as Steve Yonych out there looking for ways to keep people informed. We here at bsquared intel thank him for his time. If you would like to contact or meet with Steve Yonych to learn about how Litchfield Bancorp can help you, his information is below.

Email: [email protected]
Phone branch: 860.274.7467
Phone direct: 860.393.9175

Litchfield Bancorp
51 Straits Turnpike
Watertown, CT 06795