A data breach, as conventional wisdom goes, can happen to anyone, but how an organization handles the fallout is what shows us if they care about users at all - and Equifax is failing spectacularly at it.
It discovered the hack July 29, but didn't publicly announce it until more than a month later.
What makes this one so scary, according to Tim Mahieu with Level Four Wealth Management, is that this particular hack exposed everything from social security numbers, birthdates and drivers license numbers, in addition to credit card information. The fee is waived in some places for varying conditions, such as if someome has been a victim of identity theft or is on active duty for the military. A notification to the authority must at least: 1) describe the nature of the personal data breach, including the number and categories of data subject and personal data records affected, 2) provide the data protection officer's contact information, 3) describe the likely consequences of the personal data breach, and 4) describe how the controller proposes to address the breach, including any mitigation efforts.
While Equifax allowed consumers to see whether their data was leaked - and free enrollment in its credit monitoring program for one year - Salas is demanding the company "engage in targeted outreach". The sole goal of why Equifax and the other credit bureaus exist is to be a secure storehouse of crucial financial information.
Equifax also encouraged customers to enter their last name and the last six digits of their social security number on an incident website to see if they were potentially impacted.
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When a company tries to fix a security breach, it's never a good sign when consumers feel less secure because of its remedies.
There are reports the site is has been down and it enrolls you in a free credit monitoring service owned by Equifax.
With the company facing huge criticism from customers, and lawmakers and investigating agencies probing the mishap, troubles for Equifax are unlikely to end any time soon. You can sign up at the same site listed above, and the deadline to do so is November 21. Except perhaps the credit card info which they may put to nefarious use. Several politicians and consumer groups have criticized this provision.
Late Friday, Equifax said the arbitration language that appears on its website "will not apply to this cybersecurity incident".
"Anytime you've opened a bank account or applied for credit through a bank or a credit card company or a store charge account, those credit accounts are reported into the bureaus by the companies".
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Then, request a copy of your credit report.
Taking an inventory of your accounts and passwords. I would encourage everyone to assume they were affected, regardless of what Equifax's site says, as the investigation into the breach is ongoing. "It's really up to the institution to have better security", said Rivers.
"Maine is one of the few states in which consumers can "freeze" their credit report information to prevent unauthorized persons from opening credit accounts in their name", said David Leach, the bureau's principal examiner.
Equifax has set up a website for anyone who thinks they may have been a victim in this case, but you should also take the time to stay on top of your information.
The complaint also cites the fact that the company took more than a month before making the breach public and they were not able to disclose the reason why. "It's to get you to sign up for its revenue-generating product TrustID".
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Freezing your credit comes with a $5 to $10 charge for each credit bureau.