Published: Tue, September 12, 2017
Finance | By Kristine Clayton

Equifax rushes to fix credit freeze PIN blunder following massive data breach

Equifax rushes to fix credit freeze PIN blunder following massive data breach

To post a fraud alert on your credit file, you must contact one of the three major credit reporting agencies below. Data revealed included Social Security numbers, addresses, driver's license data, and birth dates. After this fact was pointed out publicly by many, Equifax added a note to the FAQ for the TrustedID Premier program saying that "enrolling in the free credit file monitoring and identity theft protection products that we are offering as part of this cybersecurity incident does not prohibit consumers from taking legal action". While it's unlikely many Australians were directly affected, the nature of the breach highlights why mandatory data breach notification laws are important, that notification periods are critical and you need to ensure you're ready to communicate with anyone whose data your store.

In addition to this, as per Equifax's investigation, hackers accessed the credit card numbers of about 209,000 USA consumers and "certain dispute documents with personal identifying information" of almost 182,000 US consumers.

If you ever have reason to believe that you have been a victim of identity theft, the Federal Trade Commission has a website to guide you through the steps of reporting and recovering at this helpful website.

As TechCrunch's Sarah Buhr noted, "It's clear Equifax's goal isn't to protect the consumer or bring them vital information".

Equifax set up a site to let people know if their personal information had been exposed, but it ended up infuriating people, many of whom failed to get a clear response. Except perhaps the credit card info which they may put to nefarious use. Watch for charges you didn't authorize, even if they are for small amounts.

"There will be an avalanche of consumer cases", said Yanchunis, who also leads litigation in California against Yahoo over hackings affecting more than 1 billion users, though involving less sensitive data. Make sure you temporarily lift the freeze if you are in the market for a loan.

Freezing your credit comes with a $5 to $10 charge for each credit bureau. (ANTM - Free Report) and Sony Corporation (SNE - Free Report) have also been victims of cyber attack, when fraudsters stole large number of consumer data. Consumers will have to take the time to place a freeze at each bureau separately.

The chairmen of at least two U.S. House committees say they want to hold hearings. The Equifax breach and loss of 143 million records (including mine) serves as a painful reminder of why every link in the software supply chain must be automatically and continuously managed. Several state attorneys general have also said they would investigate, which could result in fines at the state level.

Consumers affected by the Equifax data breach are scrambling for ways to protect their financial lives. Others expressed frustration that three senior executives sold about $1.8 million in stock in the days following the discovery of the hack.

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