In response to public outrage over its ongoing bungled response, Equifax stated on Twitter that it will waive credit freeze fees for 30 days. With so much personal data running around out there in the wild, credit freezes are one of the only things that those affected by the Equifax breach can do to protect themselves. Equifax’s existing offer of free credit monitoring for one year is just salt in the wound considering that social security numbers are good for life.
Yesterday, Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz dismissed the company’s efforts to date as “inadequate for several reasons,” calling on Equifax to cover tri-bureau credit freezes and to make the offer of free credit monitoring unlimited.
The problem with a free single bureau credit freeze is that you really need to do it with all three major credit bureaus. Otherwise, a would-be identity thief can open credit accounts in your name with lenders that only use TransUnion or Experian. Equifax is well aware of that, but appears to be more interested in making money from its existing credit services after their short free intervals expire than forking it over to rightfully rageful consumers for covering fees elsewhere or for extended periods of time.
True to form, some of the links from the official Equifax Twitter account announcing the decision don’t go to an Equifax website, instead pointing followers to some conference in Bend, Oregon from earlier this year that leads with the line “Trust in 2017: In What & Whom Do We Trust?” — good question! Not Equifax! Other links point to “securityfreeze2017.com” which also is not an Equifax site but is an unregistered domain that would be a great place for any hackers to register and stake out.
Here’s the right link, though it is generally as unhelpful as everything else Equifax has offered in the way of making things right. Will customers who have already paid for a credit freeze through Equifax be reimbursed? What are they supposed to do about fees from the other two bureaus? And only 30 days, really? We’ve reached out to the company with these questions and more.
In the meantime, good luck out there, Tim.