Guest opinion: Protect yourself from Equifax security breach

Thursday, 21 Sep, 2017

In the days following Equifax's disclosure of the breach, the percentage of those who said they had heard something negative about Experian rose from 5 percent on September 6 to 26 percent as of Tuesday, according to Morning Consult Brand Intelligence data.

The breach involved TALX, which is Equifax's human resources and payroll service. In the meantime, Equifax is displaying a phone number that consumers may call to receive a PIN. The company promptly engaged a leading, independent cyber security firm that has been conducting a comprehensive forensic review to determine the scope of the intrusion, including the specific data impacted, ” reads a statement from the company.

Attorney General Herbert Slatery says he is concerned about the Equifax data breach affecting more than three million Tenneseans.

The attorneys general for Missouri and IL have signed onto a letter criticizing Equifax for its handling of a data security breach that has potentially exposed the personal information of 143 million Americans.

Equifax should alert all affected people to the benefits of credit freezes and offer them free of charge to all Americans with all three major national credit bureaus. You also can consider a credit monitoring service, which is different than a credit freeze.

The data breach potentially affects 143 million people, nearly half of the USA population.

I'm still waiting on Equifax to give me what it promised. However, he said, many companies will still choose to forego the coverage.

If you're hoping to just ride out the Equifax breach and do nothing about it, you might not have a problem next week or next month or even next year, but you still need to check for red flags just in case.

On Sept. 15, Equifax announced that its chief information officer and chief security officer were retiring and were immediately replaced by interim staffers. It also has bulked up its call centers and is waiving fees for credit freezes. Cost is often a consideration, but the victim company might also believe a breach's scope is limited.

It keeps getting more complicated for Equifax.

Consumers should be vigilant and diligent. An emailed statement from the credit-monitoring agency said the executives "had no knowledge" of the breach beforehand.

Keeping watch, possibly for a long time. Scammers who get ahold of the data could use it at any time - and with 143 million to choose from, they may be patient.

Senators and representatives in Congress should introduce a bill requiring all Americans' credit scores to be reset, with preexisting debts and payment and repayment arrangements with companies being grandfathered in, but all missed payments, defaults and bankruptcies to be wiped clear from their credit reports and financial histories. That's why I'm introducing legislation to guarantee 10 years of free credit monitoring and make it easy and affordable for customers to freeze their credit reports, which makes it hard for criminals to open accounts in their names.