Should I Enroll in Equifax TrustedID Premier?
Is it true that if I enroll in the free Equifax protection program that I can’t be part of a class action lawsuit?
This question was answered on September 8, 2017. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.
In what may be one of the most damaging data breaches to date, Equifax - one of the big three credit bureaus, announced that 143 million US based consumers may be affected by a data breach that occurred between May and July of this year.
What makes this breach so damaging is that the most sensitive personal information including Social Security numbers, birth dates and home addresses was part of the breach.
Equifax TrustedID Premier Enrollment
In an effort to provide some level of protection to impacted consumers, Equifax has launched a special website (https://equifaxsecurity2017.com) to explain what has happened and to offer their ID theft and credit monitoring service for free to anyone that wants it.
Many have pointed out the irony of going to the very organization that couldn’t keep its data secure to protect you from further damage.
These types of ‘free’ services typically only last for a year, which doesn’t really do you any good in the long run since you can’t change your social security number very easily.
Enrollment for the free one year subsciption ends on November 21, 2017
One of the most disconcerting aspects of this breach is that the sensitive information that was stolen is extremely useful for a form of ‘pretexting’ that could have nothing to do with your credit file.
Pretexting refers to the act of pretending to be someone in order to gain access to private or sensitive information.
In this case, your information could allow a perpetrator to pretend that they are you to convince your bank, utility, cellular provider even the IRS to change something like an email address or physical address because the typical information required to prove your identity is in the hands of the bad guys.
Tax Filing Concerns
Another big area of concern will be for the tax-filing season next year. The filing fraudulent tax returns has become a billion dollar problem and this breach just made it easy for this problem to grow.
Make a note in your calendar to file your tax return as quickly as you can next year to avoid the mess that’s created if a fraudulent return is filed before you file your real tax return.
Children’s Credit Files
ID thieves covet the Social Security number of children because it’s a lot less likely that anyone is monitoring the credit of a young child. Whatever you decide to use to monitor your own credit files, don’t forget your children as well.
One of the best ways to lock down your credit file is to put a freeze on it with all 3 credit bureaus: https://goo.gl/kfKWw2
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Posted by Ken of Data Doctors on September 8, 2017