The Credit Information Breach
Update – 9/11/2017 – 44% of all American Adults had their credit information stolen; Name, Address, Date of Birth, Social Security Number, Drivers License Number etc. If you have a high credit score you will most likely be the first to be hit with fraudulent accounts opened in your name. You can get a credit monitoring report, but by the time you find out the criminal opened an account it is too late. You can put a fraud alert on your account but it only lasts for 90 days – and after that your account is wide open. You can do a credit freeze. This is the best solution. It stops any credit accounts from being opened – Equifax is free, Experian and Trans Union is $10 each. This locks your credit. Remember to open it – you will have to pay the fees again to unlock, and the fees again to re-lock. This sucks, but it is better than getting your identity stolen or fake accounts being opened in your name. Keep an eye on your social security as well as this gives the hackers the ability to open up a social security account and start taking benefits if you are not already receiving them. This is very important!
The news is quietly reporting the largest hack in history. 143 million people’s credit information was stolen by hackers who breached a known security flaw. Equifax’s executive share-holders knew of the breach a month ago but failed to report it so they would have time to cash out their stocks before the price fell. This is a bunch of baloney. They put their own greed before protecting my interests. Am I surprised? Not one bit!
Unfortunately there is no law that requires a company to release information that it’s security was breached. This is another law that has to be put on the books even though common sense will dictate that you would inform your customers. You have my name, address, social security number, drivers license number and where I work. Equifax is already guilty of a crime before it goes to trial. I am sure the settlement will net us each a check for $3 for our trouble.
Another Thing Equifax is doing – Don’t be shocked!
Equifax has a website that is up so you can enter your last name, last 6 of your social security number and find out if you have been hacked. I already checked and both my wife’s information and mine were stolen including social security numbers, date of birth and drivers license numbers, where I work and my address – enough for anyone to get credit under my name.
What is their solution – We will give you free credit monitoring for a year!
Well, most people will be duped in signing up for that. If you read the fine print it says if you accept this you will be giving up your right to sue for damages. There has already been a class action lawsuit filed against this company for not protecting your information so since it is a certified class you will have to do nothing to be compensated.Update 9/11 – They say they have changed the fact that you can’t file a lawsuit under this circumstance. It was all over the news.
I think this tactic is pretty sneaky. I am not surprised at all because of the unethical behavior of the executives at the company in withholding the breach until they could sell their stock.
What to do:
Well all the credit companies are going to get lots of money. Equifax, TransUnion and Experian all charge $10 per person to start a credit freeze. A credit freeze will stop people from opening accounts in your name with this hacked information unless they have a pin number (which only you have) to unlock the data.
I think Equifax is waiving the fee – They should since they are responsible for the hack. For my wife and I that is a $40 dollar hit we have to take to protect our assets. Now if 143 million people took these steps at $20 dollars each it would mean 2.86 billion dollars revenue for the credit card companies, TransUnion and Experian. Not a bad take for sloppy security and even more revenue down the road for the unlocking of these accounts when people need credit checks for loans. This is going to make the credit reporting agencies billions of dollars.
I am going to start working on my credit freezes today. You can do it on-line with all three reporting agencies. Just do an Internet search and you will find the web pages.
Here is more bad news:
When you lock your credit reports you will have a pin number that can unlock them. Guess what? So will the credit card companies. So again you have to trust someone with all of your credit information to protect your pin number with their sloppy security. If someone gets your pin they can unlock the credit freeze.
You can always opt for LifeLock. They charge $30 a month per person to watch your credit and give you a million dollars in Identity Theft Protection. That’s $720 a year for my family. $40 sounds like the better deal.