Equifax vows to improve breach response -- too late?

Alicia Cross
September 12, 2017

Equifax is one of the nation's three major credit reporting agencies.

The breach affected about 143 million in the United States, as well as some people in Canada and the United Kingdom, but Equifax didn't provide a number. The information includes social security numbers, driver's license numbers, birth dates, addresses, credit card numbers, and even more.

"We are not requesting consumers' credit card information when they sign up for the free credit file monitoring and identity theft protection we are offering to all USA consumers", the company said in a statement. I would encourage everyone to assume they were affected, regardless of what Equifax's site says, as the investigation into the breach is ongoing. "Your credit worthiness is associated with records Equifax obviously keeps and it is an Atlanta-based company so it's not quite a great thing for the city of Atlanta".

You can view your credit reports for free at AnnualCreditReport.com.

A freeze takes your credit report out of circulation. The U.S. government can still see someone's credit during a freeze, but creditors can't, reports Bankrate.com.

Equifax is among the largest credit monitoring agencies in the country, monitoring consumers' financial data ranging from missed credit card payments to unpaid utility bills. "Equifax got caught trying to profit from a massive security breach and the outrage from consumers and advocates made them reverse their position".

Credit bureau staff will review your report with you.

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The Federal Trade Commission has a list of steps consumers can take to protect themselves, such as seeking a credit freeze to prevent others from opening accounts under their names. The amount of the charge depends on where you live. So if you want to apply for something, you need to lift the freeze a few days beforehand. Fees to freeze your account vary by state, but commonly range from $5 to $10.

In addition to adding more call center agents to its centers to assist consumer calls, they also changed the language in the user agreement for TrustedID Premier. To unlock credit, a person is given a PIN.

Equifax Chairman and CEO, rick Smith, said, "I deeply regret this incident and I apologize to all of our affected consumers and partners".

Finally, be aware that phishers and scammers are sure to take advantage of this breach, so be careful when assessing communications that seem to be coming from Experian or, in general, make reference to the breach. And Rep. Greg Walden, the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, says he'll hold a hearing examining what wrong and how to better protect against future hackings.

Congress, and regulators like the attorneys general of NY and IL, are also probing the breach.

The company also has a website where you can check whether or not you have been the victim of a data breach. Others expressed frustration that three senior executives sold about $1.8 million in stock in the days following the discovery of the hack.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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