Scam of the day – September 9, 2017 – Important update about the Equifax data breach

The massive data breach that occurred at credit reporting agency Equifax, between last May and July is a story that is continuing to evolve. If you are one of the approximately 143 million people whose personal information was compromised, you face a serious threat of identity theft. Equifax is offering credit monitoring and other services to the victims of the data breach through its identity protection company, Trusted ID, however, if you read the fine print in the agreement you will find that in order to get the free services you must  waive your rights to be a part of any class action against Equifax and must resort to binding arbitration for any claims against Equifax.  New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has already indicated that he believes that requiring such a waiver in this instance is illegal and he has demanded Equifax to remove the language from the agreement.  The agreement does also provide that if you notify Equifax within 30 days of accepting the terms that you wish to opt out of arbitration you can do so, but at the moment, your rights against Equifax are far from clear.

TIPS

So what should you be doing?  It will certainly take some intense investigation, but there may well be cause for a class action against Equifax.  However, in the meantime your primary concern should be protecting yourself from identity theft and the first thing you should do is get copies of your credit report from each of the credit reporting agencies and review them to see if there is any evidence of identity theft. Regardless of whether you find any such indications, the next thing you should do is put a credit freeze on your credit reports at each of the three major credit reporting agencies.

You can get your free copies of your credit reports by using this link.

https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action

Here are links to each of the credit reporting agencies for information about how to put a credit freeze on your credit reports: 

12 thoughts on “Scam of the day – September 9, 2017 – Important update about the Equifax data breach”

  1. It should be enough to use your email address, ss #, address and phone # to access your free yearly credit reports..it should NOT be all right to have to give out more and copious amounts of personal info to these idiots in light of their inferior security measures just to access these reports. I plan on suing Equifax for extreme mental anguish AND in addition for any breach of my identity, losses in triplicate and punitive damages due to their security breach..! The charges for a freeze on credit is giving a windfall of $$$ to Experian and Trans Union…trying to get it done under their free program is an exercise in futility. SOB’s…

    1. I share your disdain for Equifax. All of us affected by this data breach will be in danger of identity theft for the rest of our lives. This is not like a credit card data breach that only affects you for a short period. The fact that Equifax is providing free credit monitoring and other services only for a year and then will make a profit in years to come by selling these services to victims of Equifax’s own negligence is outrageous. However, in order to confirm the identities of us as we get these services, it is necessary to provide our Social Security numbers.

    2. A class action has already been filed against Equifax. A judge will have to rule on whether it can proceed as a class action, but I am confident that the judge will so rule. I will keep you and everyone else informed about this and any other class actions filed if you want, like I do, to get involved.

  2. Why was I charged $10 by both TransUnion and Experian to freeze my account? I thought this was a free service offered by all three agencies!

    1. Equifax, will be permitting consumers to freeze their credit report at Equifax for no fee, however, the other major credit reporting agencies, TransUnion and Experian are under no obligation to permit you to freeze your credit reports at their companies at no charge. The laws regarding the charges for freezing your credit reports differ from state to state. Here is a link to a website that provides information about the rules in every state.
      http://www.ncsl.org/research/financial-services-and-commerce/consumer-report-security-freeze-state-statutes.aspx

      1. Thank you. But here is the odd thing. Both Experian and TransUnion charged my wife the $10 each fee for the credit freeze. However, they each charged me nothing for the same credit freeze. Is there any explanation for that discrepancy?

        1. That is odd. The only explanation I can come up with is that somehow you were interpreted as being an identity theft victim, in which case there would be no charge.

        2. I did some further research and found that both companies offer what they refer to as credit locks which are similar to credit freezes, but are tied to your signing up for other credit monitoring services. They may be offering these for free at the moment. I haven’t read the contracts’ fine print, but it could be expected that you will be charged later as part of a monthly fee for the other services. Frankly, I don’t trust the credit reporting agencies and prefer the minor inconvenience of the credit freeze where I have greater protection by law.

          1. Thank you for the further research. I believe I choose the credit freeze for all three institutions for both my wife and me. I didn’t see an indication of additional monthly payments to them when I signed up.

          2. My opinion is you made the right choice and there should be no additional fees when you choose the credit freeze.

    1. As we have seen, Equifax is not a particularly consumer friendly company when it comes to protecting our security. In this instance, it is a simple thing to change your PIN which is what you should do.

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