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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Equifax data breach


I want to add a quick post on the latest Equifax data leaks. It seems like this data breach affected about 50% of the Americans. The information stolen included social security number, address, date of birth and driver license. This information is sufficient to to forge any person (to open credit cards, bank accounts ... you name it). Indeed this is a very serious breach.


The thing that pisses me off the most is that this was known to Equifax almost 2 months ago (The breach was discovered on July 29) so I don't understand why they did not inform us about it earlier. I guess it is their commitment to share holder value as opposed to consumer value? On the contrary, if I don't make a payment (mortgage or credit or what not) ... the credit agencies are on it real time. My credit score goes down and my APR goes up. Data breaches happens I get it. It is impossible to prevent failures! how do we handle failures? I feel like Equifax failed big time in handling its failure.

And as if this was not enough, three top executives in Equifax sold about 1.8 million dollars worth of stock in the last 2 months. Equifax wants us to believe that these top executives did not know about the data breach. I strongly disagree, Don't tell me your CFO did not know about this data breach!. I believe SEC should investigate them.

Equifax has a website where you can check if your account has been affected. But, at this point I would never trust them and I don't plan to use their website. If you want to use it here is the https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com to their site. They also provide additional protection using TrustedID. This "free" service comes with strings attached, if you register for this protection you would end up signing over your rights to sue Equifax. I would recommend not taking this action. There are multiple class action lawsuits already lining up against Equifax. FYI: TrustedID is owned by Equifax.

It seems there are multiple ways to protect or at least try to protect ourselves from this hazard. I personally decided to freeze my credit score. It cost $10 to freeze our credit score. It's $10 for each credit agency so that's $30 altogether. Here all links to each of those credit agencies. Don't forget to store your PIN in a safe location.

https://www.transunion.com/credit-freeze/place-credit-freeze
https://www.experian.com/freeze/center.html
https://www.freeze.equifax.com/Freeze/jsp/SFF_PersonalIDInfo.jsp

I am not sure if anything will come out of this. Data breach is something that is going to happen more often.It's all about handling those failures i.e. contingency plans.

On a slightly positive note, the stock value of Equifax has dropped considerably almost 10% after this news came out in. It does pay a dividend so it might be of interest to the dividend investing community. Again, I don't believe in the business practices, I don't trust them much. I would not be buying their stock anytime soon.









8 comments:

  1. i am not trusting them either. The company has a responsibility to its customers.

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    Replies
    1. It seems like they have more responsibility to their CXO's and other share holders.

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  2. Hi,

    I wrote a similar post like you the day after Equifax breach. I'm impacted as well. I don't know if you tried to signup with their TrustedID? I finally did per the date they gave me, however, now I have to wait for an email from Equifax (TrustedID) before I can complete my TrustedID membership.

    Wondering if you signed up for it yet?

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    Replies
    1. I have not signed up for it. I have pretty much frozen all my credit scores. Will wait and see.

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  3. The Equifax data breach was really scary. Seriously considering at least locking my credit but may also freeze my credit as well.

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    Replies
    1. I am not planning to apply for credit anytime soon. So, freezing seemed to be a better option :-)

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  4. I find this super annoying and wish there was an easier way to freeze credit than making accounts with three separate companies and paying them each time you want to do it.

    I still can't believe that they don't have some sort of two factor authorization set up for new credit. It's crazy that it's probably easier to steal my identity and get a loan in my name than get into my world of warcraft account at this point.

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    Replies
    1. True I agree. Not to mention it costs 10$ to do that. It should definitely be easier to monitor or freeze credit. I used to have Info Armor ... I did not get a notice from them when I was applying for mortgages LOL

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