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Thread: Equifax breach: What you need to know and do

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2015

    Default Equifax breach: What you need to know and do

    So you've heard of the massive Equifax data breach?
    Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses on 143 million Americans? Have you tried their "are you a victim?" website?

    The real story is even worse.
    Driver's license numbers. Credit card details for 209,000 families. Scammers calling to "help you" and steal more data. Experian piling on to sell "credit monitoring" services. Customers in south (and probably central) America unprotected for years.

    Here is important information you should know:

    (1) The full story behind the breach - when did Equifax know it had been hacked, and what did they do? (Hint: the SEC should investigate)

    (2) What you should know about the breach. (Hint: don't trust that Equifax 'are you a victim?' site.)

    (3) FTC notice - phishing scams linked to Equifax data breach. (The scammers are calling.)

    (4) Experian piles on to sell a new "credit monitoring service":

    (5) Ayuda! (Help!) Equifax breach is worse in South America

    (6) Solution: how to freeze your credit -- and why a 'freeze' is much more effective than buying a 'credit monitoring' service

    As you can see, I (and many others) admire Brian Krebs and the tireless work he is doing to improve security on the Web and protect users. Subscribe to his alerts; you will be glad you did.

    Let me know if you have any questions.

    Mark Hays

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2015


    First, as Krebs noted, do not trust the "Are you a victim?" site that Equifax put up. The results, good or bad, are not valid based on the testing Krebs described. Your only option: assume that your records were stolen, freeze your credit reports and monitor your credit cards for fraud.

    Here are the website links to freeze your credit reports online, and my results when I tried:

    (1) Equifax:

    (2) Experian:

    (3) Transunion:

    (4) Innovis:

    My results:

    (1) Equifax: Straightforward, no fee, completed online in ~5 minutes.

    (2) Experian: Entered my identity info which Experian confirmed. Then I tried to use a credit card to pay the $5 fee - but Experian rejected this saying they could NOT verify my identity, which makes no sense. Only recourse: mail a check and a series of required documents to Experian, or upload the documents ( and mail the check, or upload everything if you have a police report to avoid paying the fee.

    (3) Transunion: First, their 'freeze' page tries to discourage you from freezing your credit report -- and promotes Transunion's "TrueIdentity" service. This appears to be a "free" and helpful option, until you read the details in the Services Agreement. If you sign up for TrueIdentity, you will agree to a class action waiver, a mandatory arbitration clause, 'targeted marketing' from Transunion and their partners, access to your credit data on Equifax and Experian, and they can share your data with other companies. The 'free' TrueIdentity service then encourages you to subscribe to "premium" services for a monthly fee. Caveat emptor!

    I avoided the TrueIdentity pitch and picked "freeze my credit report". I entered my identity info which Transunion confirmed. Then their site asked four questions about a prior mortgage, prior employer etc. Transunion rejected my (correct) answers. Only recourse: call Transunion " (888) 909-8872 to initiate your security freeze transaction by phone." Imagine the wait time!

    (4) Innovis: Quick and easy, confirmed my credit freeze online in ~3 minutes.

    I hope this info is helpful. If you encounter different results with these companies, let us know.

    Mark Hays

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