Message from the Chief

EQUIFAX - The Perfect Storm Coming

Equifax data breachIn a recent article in the Washington Post, Michelle Singletary wrote about some ideas you may consider in protecting your social security records.  Here is what she wrote: The financial exploitation of seniors is already a problem. Now with the massive data breach by Equifax, it’s just one more thing to concern the elderly.

Many people are scrambling, trying to put in place credit freezes to prevent identity thieves from opening up credit in their name. But if you expect to get a Social Security check or you’re already getting a benefit there’s something else you should do and fast.

myssaYou need to go online and open a my Social Security account. Do this before someone uses your stolen information to hijack this extremely important portal for your Social Security benefits (

As the Motley Fool’s Maurie Backman points out, “Someone could, in theory, access your information at some point or another, file for benefits as you (either immediately or once you become eligible), direct those benefits to a new address, and collect them for years with you none the wiser. Then, when you finally decide it’s time to file for benefits, you’ll learn that you have supposedly been receiving them for years.”

Armed with publicly available information and data stolen in the Equifax breach — your address, Social Security, driver’s license and credit card numbers — identity thieves could have enough to get through the security to set up an online Social Security account.

“A my Social Security account is your gateway to many of our online services,” wrote Social Security’s Jim Borland, acting deputy commissioner for communications in a blog post last week. “Create your account today and take away the risk of someone else trying to create one in your name, even if they obtain your Social Security number.”

Here’s something else to keep in mind. If you’ve placed a freeze or fraud alert on your credit file, you will not be able to open the account until you unlock the file. Social Security uses information in your file to verify your identity. You can open an account in person by going to a local Social Security office.  Get ahead of possible identity theft by creating your Social Security account.

Our thanks to Ms. Singletary!  In addition, each of us should consider placing a “freeze” on our credit report; but each of us is in a financial different situation.  You certainly cannot do this if you are buying a home, applying for an auto loan or credit card.  But, if you are in a stable situation, you may want to consider a credit freeze for an extended period of time.

As always, the Wilton Manors Police Department is at your service day or night, 24/7. Feel free to visit us at City Hall, 2020 Wilton Drive, Monday through Friday, 7am – 10pm and Saturday 10am – 5pm.
Regional Dispatch / Non Emergency: 954-764-HELP (4357)
In Case of Emergency dial 9-1-1
If you see suspicious activity, please call Dispatch.
Regional Dispatch / Non Emergency: 954-764-HELP (4357)
In Case of Emergency dial 9-1-1