Published: Thu, September 21, 2017
Business | By Max Garcia

Equifax Breach Puts Credit Bureaus' Oversight In Question

Equifax said Tuesday that approximately 100,000 Canadian consumers may have had personal information breached, including names, addresses, social insurance numbers and in some cases credit card numbers. In contrast, a security freeze prevents a lender from accessing an individual's credit reporting file or issuing credit in the individual's name, but also makes it more hard for the individual to apply for credit with new lenders because the individual must take certain steps to lift the freeze.

According to Chief Financial Officer at CNB Sarah Hinneberg, the Federal Trade Commission is recommending consumers visit the site, created by Equifax, to determine if their information has been exposed. This comes at a time when the middle class is living paycheck to paycheck and credit reporting agencies and credit card companies take home record profits.

"When this first came out we learned that it was roughly six weeks between the data breach timing and then ultimately when the public was notified", Shapiro told KDKA money editor Jon Delano on Wednesday. "Consumers, who are at absolutely no fault in this situation, should not have to pay anyone especially Equifax to either monitor or to freeze their credit", said Jackley.

If this is not contemptuous and negligent enough, Equifax executives waited months after the March hack to disclose it to the public and have the nerve to argue that the March hack and the recently revealed theft of 143 million consumers' personal information are "unrelated".

Additionally, while appreciative that Equifax will be reimbursing consumers who paid a fee to freeze their Equifax credit reports as of September 7, 2017, the date the breach was announced, General Slatery urged Equifax to extend the free credit freezes past the current deadline of November 21, 2017 and to reimburse fees paid by consumers for security freezes by other credit reporting agencies. Because a security freeze safeguards a person's credit report, it is one of the most effective ways to protect consumers from identity theft. Check this list of state guidelines for security freeze details in your state, including groups that can place security freeze requests for free.

To place a fraud alert, contact one of the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion) either online or by phone.

"If you have an accountant speak with your accountant, look at what your previous income was the previous year and what you did and adjust it that way", she said. How many Americans working multiple jobs will now have to take time to dispute fraudulent activity on their credit histories due to this hack of Equifax? It also has bulked up its call centers and is waiving fees for credit freezes. Monitoring your credit report can help you identify signs of potential identity theft.

You can not open any new accounts during the credit freeze; you must lift the freeze prior to applying for new credit. In Ohio, security freezes are permanent until you lift them.

Neither a credit freeze nor a fraud alert affect your current accounts; they only concern the opening of new lines of credit.

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