Friday, September 15, 2017

How the massive Equifax Data Breach affects Notary Signing Agents

by Daniel C. Lewis

How the massive Equifax data breach affects NSAs?

By now you should have heard the news and/or seen all the coverage about the massive Equifax data breach in the US.   If not here is a short recap:

  • Equifax is one of the largest consumer credit reporting agency
  • Equifax discovered that on July 29 a massive data breach occurred
  • Data stolen include names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and in some cases, driver's license numbers
  • 3 Equifax managers sold stock before the hack was revealed to the public
  • This is the 3rd major Equifax cyber threat since 2015
  • Going to the Equifax website to see if you were affected could cost you your rights to a class action lawsit

People are being asked to go to the Equifax website to find remedies to their own data breaches.  According to technology lawyer, Mark Grossman, when you click on the Equifax site for help you could be giving away other remedies to help yourself with this issue, including being able to participate in a class action lawsuit. 

How does all this affect professional Notary Signing Agents and what can they do about it now?

First, assume that you, the Notary Signing Agent, are one of the 143 million consumers that was affected by the data breach.  Remember the exposed data includes names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and in some cases, driver's license numbers. 

Second, as a business professional you should take immediate action (if not sooner) to protect your business.  Being a Notary Signing Agent it is critical for you to take the proper steps to protect your identity.  I would recommend using a credit monitoring service such as IDShield

Third, review how you handle sensitive information.  Do you have procedures in place that ensures you are not exposing private information?  Does anyone else have access to your workstation at home?  Can someone who is visiting your home for the first time gain access to your computer?  Do you leave sensitive information in your car unsecured?  Are you able to explain your chain of custody procedures when it comes to sensitive information you come into contact with?

Breaches like the one Equifax has had will seriously affect all aspects of how you do your job as a Notary Signing Agent.  It will affect how title and signing companies handle their clients information and how the information is shared with you, the NSA.  It will also affect regulations in the future in the real estate industry. 

1.  Assume that you are one of the victims of the massive data breach

2.  Protect yourself with IDShield by clicking here and signing up (less than $10 per month and should be tax deductible - check with your CPA/Tax Professional)

3.  Review how you secure private information and update your procedures

4.  Update all your professional notary profiles on various site to let your clients know that you have updated your procedures and take privacy and security very seriously

Since as a Notary Signing Agent it is required to have a clean background screening each year it is critical to have a professional monitoring service monitor every aspect of your information.  This can ensure no delays in receiving assignments from your clients.  Remember, in terms of being a victim of Identity theft, you are guilty until you prove you are innocent.

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Daniel C. Lewis resides in Carmel, IN.  He was named in 2010 by the National Notary Association the Notary of the Year.  He was also named in the same year by the Indiana Secretary of State as an Honorary Secretary of State.  Daniel is currently serving as the President of the Indiana Notary Association.  Daniel is an entrepreneur, writer, video editor and Managing Partner of Lewis Notary Services Inc.  If you wish to have Daniel help you with a notary business plan and financial review click here