Equifax hack: 'Sham' security check website is 'completely broken'

Credit reporting company Equifax Inc. corporate offices are

The theft included credit card data, social security numbers, and addresses of over 140 million people. But the site provides responses even for bogus names and numbers (such as "Trump" and "123456"), leading to questions about its accuracy. It stated that persons who enrolled in the free credit-monitoring service offered by Equifax would give up the right to join a class-action lawsuit and would have any legal dispute forced into private arbitration rather than open court. Last week, when the announcement finally came to light, all Equifax offered us was a bug-ridden website and a year's worth of the same old credit monitoring.

But no Social Security numbers or drivers' license information were disclosed in the Yahoo break-in.

Since cybercriminals may have accessed what Ulzheimer calls the "crown jewels of information" at Equifax, he also suggests putting a long term freeze on your credit. This is a good idea as long as you're not about to apply for a mortgage, vehicle loan or other line of credit.

The language referred only to the former company, and, in a detail doubtless unnoticed by many visitors, the Terms of Use was hosted on TrustedIDPremier.com, not Equifax.com. On Monday, it said in a blog post it's "listening to issues consumers have experienced and their suggestions" and had made changes, such as increasing call center support.

Gamble sold more than 13 percent of his stake in Equifax. But what does freezing your credit entail, and how easy is it to do (and undo)? If a creditor wants to view your data because an identity thief is trying to set up an account using your name and information, the freeze will prompt the creditor to refuse to set up a new account.

Run your credit reports.

First, the credit reporting agency's business model involves storing information securely and ensuring it does not get in the wrong hands. "It poses an identity-theft threat to tens of millions of people", said Jocelyn Baird, associate editor of NextAdvisor, a consumer information website.

The unauthorized access occurred between mid-May and July, but no suspicious activity has been found in the company's core credit-reporting databases, Chief Executive Officer Richard Smith said in a video on Equifax's website. Employers, landlords and utilities also use the bureaus' data to check up on consumers. Large breaches like this attract scammers and criminals who try to obtain your personal information by posing as the company who experienced the breach and/or the company providing credit and identity monitoring services as a result of the breach. Two law firms - Olsen Daines PC and Geragos & Geragos - filed a a suit in federal court in OR, and a lawyer from Morgan & Morgan filed a suit in federal court in Georgia, CyberScoop reports.

Also, if you've signed up for the service, be aware that you'll get only one year for free, and if you don't cancel it when that year ends, Equifax will continue to provide it - and bill you for it, of course. Arbitration is slated to be barred in the financial industry next year by the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, but Republicans have sought to reverse that ruling.

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