Disclaimer: This is based on my experience and is not intended as legal advice. I’m not a lawyer and I don’t play one online.
There is no shortage of advice online on what to due in light of the unbelievable Equifax data mess. I was dealing with some issues when the news broke, at this time we have become desensitized to this type of incident, however you may not have cared about others, but this one can really damage you. One of the companies that tracks all our financial moves without our knowledge (or consent in most instances) allowed hackers to take the most sensitive information we can think of. What do we do now besides getting angry and frustrated?
1. Check to see if you were affected by visiting: https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com
2. If you were affected and are not sure what to do, placing a 90-day initial fraud alert is a good second step. If you were affected, Equifax will “kindly” inform you when you have to return to the website to signup for their free identity protection service. It’s also a nice touch on their part to let you know that although this is their fault, they won’t remind you when you will have to return to the site to sign up for the service which should be an op-out affair at this point since Equifax caused this mess. This takes us to step 3, I do not trust this company and after this breach nobody should. This means we have to take drastic measures that go beyond the one year monitoring and security service.
3. Put a security freeze on your record. I noticed that this needs to be done separately with each of the credit bureaus. The cost can be $5 to $10 on average, to put and remove such freeze. However, this service is free in many states and in others only removing the freeze has a cost. If you have a police report, then the service will be free of charge regardless of state.
Equifax could have managed this incident in a very different way. Why only offer one year of protection? How do we know this service will actually protect us? I’ll stop here because there are so many questions to be asked. The company should have made this process seamless for all of those affected and offer real protection not for just one year, but for however long it is necessary. Equifax should be known as Epicfail after this mess.