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Press Release

March 5, 2015

Contact: Matt Anderson, 212-709-1691

NYDFS URGES PIONEER SAVINGS BANK CUSTOMERS TO TAKE STEPS TO PROTECT THEMSELVES FOLLOWING SECURITY BREACH

Benjamin M. Lawsky, Superintendent of Financial Services, today issued a consumer alert following the recent breach of sensitive customer data at Pioneer Savings Bank, encouraging customers who think they may have been impacted to take the appropriate steps to protect themselves.

Superintendent Lawsky said: "We strongly encourage Pioneer customers who think they may have been affected to take the necessary steps to safeguard themselves from any potential damage to their financial lives. This is the latest in a string of breaches of sensitive customer information that further underscores the need for strong information and cyber security standards within financial institutions."

In late January, Pioneer discovered the theft of a company laptop containing "personal information of certain customers, including names, social security numbers, street addresses, and account and debit card numbers." Pioneer has stated that it is investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident and has taken remedial measures, including monitoring accounts for suspicious activity. While Pioneer is at this time unaware of the misuse of any customer information as a result of this incident, Pioneer will be providing free credit monitoring and identity protection services to those affected.

The consumer alert DFS issued notes that impacted customers should consider taking the following actions to protect themselves:

  • Closely monitor your credit card, monthly bills, bank statements, credit report and credit score.
    • If you see any signs of fraud, report this immediately to the affected organization, both by phone and certified mail.  You may ask your bank or credit card company to put a security block on your account or preemptively request a new credit or debit card.
  • Place a fraud alert in your file at each of the three major credit reporting agencies.
    • A fraud alert generally lasts for 90 days, although it can be extended.  To place a fraud alert on credit reports, customers should contact one of the three major credit reporting agencies at, or through, one of the following numbers or websites:

      Equifax Fraud Assistance Department: (800) 525-6285 or www.equifax.com
      TransUnion Fraud Victim Assistance: (800) 680-7289 or www.transunion.com
      Experian: (888) EXPERIAN (397-3742) or www.experian.com

  • Place a “security freeze” on your credit report with the three major credit reporting agencies.
    • A security freeze will generally stop prospective creditors from accessing your credit files to review your credit history, thus preventing any new credit from being opened for you, unless you authorize the agencies to allow access. Be sure to protect the information of your family as well – including children and elderly parents.
  • Watch out for pretexting calls and "phishing" scams. Breach victims should not provide information to anybody who calls them claiming to be from Pioneer.
    • Impacted customers should not provide any information in response to an email (or a link within), as these could be scam emails targeting affected Pioneer customers. These email “phishing” scams, designed to capture personal information such as user names, passwords, and credit card information may appear to come from Pioneer. Do not click on any links (including links to free credit monitoring) sent to you in an email, or via social media, as any personal information you send through these links will be transmitted to scammers taking advantage of the incident.

If you suspect that someone is using your Social Security number, you can call the Social Security Administration’s fraud hotline at (800) 269-0271 or go to www.ssa.gov/oig.  You can also check your earnings record by calling (800) 772-1213.

Victims of identity theft should also contact the Federal Trade Commission to file a complaint and create an Identity Theft Affidavit.

For more information, customers may contact Pioneer at (518) 687-5300.  You can also contact the New York State Department of Financial Services helpline at (800) 342-3736 (Monday through Friday, 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM). Local calls can be made to (212) 480-6400.

To view a copy of today’s consumer alert, please visit, link.

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