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There's good news and bad news about Equifax credit freezes

13 September 2017

Quick question: On the scale of severity when there's a breach and a totally botched response, what comes after "dumpster fire?" Problem is, Equifax has the ability to respond to these lawsuits in a way that will make life far more hard for the plaintiffs. The complaints were filed in federals courts in Portland and Atlanta on behalf of nationwide classes. Data breaches can happen to any business.

These breaches led to more than 143 million people's personal information to be exposed.

Beyond being one of the largest breaches in this nation's history, this breach is of particular note due to the sensitivity of the information that was breached.

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Those periods of intense wind and rain will continue throughout the evening and will start to taper off by early Tuesday morning. By Monday afternoon, more than 800,000 Georgia Power and EMC customers mostly in coastal and south Georgia were without power.

Equifax discovered the hack July 29, but waited until Thursday to warn consumers. This means that pre-incident, companies need to: understand what sensitive data is being stored, partner with an appropriate cybersecurity forensics firm and trusted legal counsel, and create a roadmap for the notification of affected individuals and remediation of the breach. In my book, a bit of breach justice would be if Equifax had to pay one of its rivals to provide identity theft monitoring services for victims. Notably, enrollment requires that you accept Equifax's Terms of Use.

Dozens of potential class-action lawsuits have been filed, Congress has revved up hearings on the breach, and two legislators have promised bills targeting the credit reporting industry.

The breach also prompted expressions of concern from U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, while the MA attorney general said her state planned to sue.

Household Income Finally Beats 1999 Record
Tuesday's report was based on survey data collected earlier this year for 2016, the final full year of the Obama administration. In general, 40.3 per cent of single-parent families were low-income, compared to just 11.9 per cent of two-parent families.

The website had other problems, however, that have not been resolved. These are services that will let you know when someone is looking at your credit and may contact you about a new account opened in your name. The website will tell you if your information was stolen. On September 8, it said it was. "You did not ask Equifax to vacuum up data about you, and then resell it to marketers and loan sellers".

At some of the other credit reporting agencies, in order to place a credit freeze, you have to agree to accept unsolicited offers for products. To thaw it, you can call a phone number (Equifax's automated freeze lift line is 1-800-685-1111) and give them the PIN along with either the date range you wanted the freeze lifted, or the name of the company you'd like to be given access to your report. It is also a reminder to review your own customer agreements.

∙ Based on information out of Alabama where a hacker used a person's compromised information in an attempt to trick a retirement broker into gaining access to a client's account, we strongly advise that you contact your investment or retirement manager to understand what protocols and safety measures are in place to ensure someone can not pose as you to gain access to your accounts. Because you'll have to unfreeze it every time someone needs to run a credit check on you.

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There's good news and bad news about Equifax credit freezes