Equifax must give FREE credit protection & monitoring services and more for LIFE
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For the duration of each person’s lifetime, Equifax must provide for FREE, unlimited security freeze and unfreeze at all credit bureaus, credit monitoring (detection and alert) at all credit bureaus, credit score on a monthly basis, counseling and resources to fully resolve identity theft, and reimburse for any money stolen due to the data and identity theft.
On Thursday, Equifax disclosed that a data breach it discovered on July 29 may have impacted as many as 143 million consumers in the United States. This will certainly impact your or someone you know.
The data that was stolen were things that we cannot easily change, such as social security numbers, date of birth, name, address, driver's license number, among other information. What can someone do with this information? They can steal your identity. They can open and use credit cards or obtain loans with your information, and ruin your credit. They can go buy a mobile phone and get mobile service, compliments of your identity, and the bills will go to you. They can steal your identity to take a job and elect not to withhold taxes so that you are on the hook for the taxes. They can file a tax return and make it look like you get a refund, but the refund will be sent to the thieves. They can use your information to obtain medical care from a doctor and hospital, get expensive drugs and medical equipment with the bills going to you, and possibly resulting in a denial of medical services to you because your limits have been reached.
After the thieves use your information to steal from you, your credit will start to get impacted. Unpaid bills will go on your credit. In our credit based society, you need good credit to rent an apartment or house based, obtain a job, obtain a student loan, open lines of credit for a credit card or for your small business loan, etc. The stolen data will persist and will retain its value to the attackers for years to come because we cannot change information, such as our SSN, DOB, and our names.
Identity thieves will ruin what we have worked so hard for. The data is extremely valuable and greatly impact our everyday lives and future lives. Don't forget that children's identities are also valuable because they have clean credit to start with and most parents don't monitor their children's credit. Imagine your child trying to obtain a student loan, or getting his first job or apartment, but being denied for identity theft that happened years before.
Equifax was careless, negligent, and reckless in their data security and now they only want to give the affected consumers 1 year of free credit monitoring, when they know full well how valuable the information is to the hackers and that the information is the key to our identities. Our personal data cannot be changed so identity theft can still take place years from now. The average victim spends nearly $500 and 30 hours resolving just one identity theft incident. Now consider how many credit cards can be applied for, how many mobile phones can be purchased, how many other things can and will happen during your life now that this information is out there in perpetuity and multiply this by the cost and time averages. Equifax must make this right by providing each service for free, for the duration of each person’s lifetime:
- Security freeze and unfreeze with all credit bureaus (unlimited),
- Credit monitoring (detection and alert) with all credit bureaus through a third party (Equifax cannot provide the detection and alert because Equifax cannot be trusted),
- Credit score on a monthly basis from all credit bureaus,
- Counseling and resources to fully resolve identity theft (through a third party because Equifax cannot be trusted), and
- Reimburse for any money stolen due to the data and identity theft.
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