The unprecedented breach, which occurred in July, but only disclosed on Thursday, is among the largest in US history, affecting 143 million people.
What is really unconscionable about this breach is that Equifax knew that personal financial data, including Social Security numbers, Birth Dates, Credit Card numbers, Addresses and Driver’s License numbers were in the hands of criminals since July, but chose not to inform consumers.
What did they do? Earlier this week it was revealed executives had sold their stock in the company before going public with the leak.
Is Equifax Acting Responsibly?
If that isn’t bad enough, Equifax’s attempt to “help” consumers was really designed to increase profits, impede justice and prevent them from being sued.
If your data had been stolen, Equifax offered a free year of credit monitoring known as “TrustedID Premiere.” But when anyone logged into their site, the system always said your data has been compromised and you need the service.
Some, who doubted the site’s honesty, put in bogus names and random SS were surprised to see the system “recognized” the pretend consumer as “probably being compromised” and so needed TrustedID(!).
Additionally, some fine print on TrustedID may also mean that consumers who agreed to the program would be giving up their right to sue over many types of damages related to the massive penetration. Unbelievable.
Attorney general Eric Schneiderman has hammered Equifax for using language meant to discourage arbitration and is asking Equifax for answers over the data breach. The company has stated since it would not bar consumers from joining breach-related lawsuits.
It’s clear Equifax’s goal isn’t to protect the consumer or bring them vital information. It’s to get you to sign up for its revenue-generating product TrustID.
These actions, and many others, are disgraceful, especially for a company of this size and responsibility it is hoped that Equifax feels the heat they are under for mishandling what is the largest data breach in the history of the U.S.
Has Your Identity Been Stolen?
If it hasn’t, there is a very good chance it will be. Unauthorized use of your credit cards, tax fraud, Social Security fraud, criminal use of your identity, setting up house and paying for incidentals using your money your ID can absolutely happen. Don’t be a victim and don’t pretend like it won’t happen to you. Be proactive.
What Can You Do?
Act promptly and decisively. Make arrangements to have a Fraud Alert put onto your credit profile with each credit bureau. The three major players are Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. To do this, call TransUnion at 1-800-680-7289 and follow the prompts closely. If done correctly, a Fraud Alert will be put on all three bureaus. If you need help with this call (888) 633-5203 and ask to have a Fraud Alert put onto your credit profile.
If you know for a fact that your identity has been compromised, a Fraud Alert isn’t enough. You must request a “Freeze” on your credit profile. This will prevent any unauthorized use of your personal data.
What’s Next for Equifax?
They are responsible for one of the biggest hacks ever. Then they delayed in revealing that sensitive data on 2 of every 5 Americans was exposed in a cyberattack was affected. Next, they use fine print that may bar lawsuits as well as the unscrupulous methods designed to encourage the use of their profitable TrustID Credit Monitoring program, and secretly got users to waive their rights to sue.
So Equifax can now count on dealing with a proposed multi-billion dollar class action lawsuit that was filed last Thursday evening. All told, Equifax could be facing as much as 70 billion in claims. But meanwhile, you are still at risk.