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How Equifax failed miserably at handling its data breach

12 September, 2017, 00:34 | Author: Paula Vaughn
  • Equifax breach could cost hundreds of millions of dollars, says Forrester analyst

The credit agencies will ask for your personal information including your name, address, date of birth and Social Security number. On Monday, the company said it had backed away from that requirement. Equifax has set up a site - equifaxsecurity2017.com - where consumers can check if their data was exposed.

Equifax also is offering a free year of credit protection service through this site.

Adding to the frustration was the news that three Equifax senior executives, including its chief financial officer, sold $1.8 million worth of company stock just days after the company discovered the breach but weeks before it was made public. Consumers could start cutting back on credit card purchases or choosing not to save their card numbers and other personal data on retailer websites or in digital wallets. When people enter their last name and part of their Social Security number on the site to see whether they were affected, some are being told: "Based on the information provided, we believe that your personal information may have been impacted by this incident".

Clark said a credit freeze is the only answer in this case. Equifax also declined to respond to comment regarding the lawsuit. You can stagger these as well, so for example, you may request your Experian report four months after you request your TransUnion report to continually monitor them. The only other entities that are allowed to see your credit report at this point are government agencies carrying out a search warrant or subpoena, and yourself, if you're trying to access the free credit report that is entitled to you once per year per credit bureau.

"In an attempt to increase profits, Equifax negligently failed to maintain adequate technological safeguards to protect Ms. McHill and Mr. Reinhard's information from unauthorized access by hackers", the complaint stated.

Equifax has developed a comprehensive portfolio of services to support consumers determine if their data has been affected.

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They could claim that Equifax's stock price was inflated because the company, executives and directors defrauded them about Equifax's ability to protect data, and should not have waited until September 7 to disclose a hacking uncovered on July 29. Its stock price fell as much as 17.8 percent on Friday, wiping out more than $3 billion of market value.

While a chunk of the U.S. population now risk their SSNs ending up in the hands of identity thieves and, perhaps, the dark web, the breach can be yet again an eye opener to consumers across the globe, including India. Some credit card information was also put at risk.

Equifax's ham-handed response is reviving calls to weed out mandatory arbitration from the finance industry.

According to a study by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, only about 16 people per year win in arbitration against companies.

"Over a third of Montanans, a lot of them adults, have been affected by this very significant data breach", Mattioli said.

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