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Businesses The Almighty Buck

Equifax Will Offer Free Credit Locks for Life, New CEO Says (bloomberg.com) 174

Equifax will debut a new service that will permanently give consumers the ability to lock and unlock their credit for free. From a report: The service will be introduced by Jan. 31, Chief Executive Officer Paulino do Rego Barros Jr. wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed Wednesday, a day after taking the helm. The company will also extend the sign-up period for TrustedID Premier, the free credit-monitoring service it's offering all U.S. consumers, he said. "The service we are developing will let consumers easily lock and unlock access to their Equifax credit files," Barros wrote. "You will be able to do this at will. It will be reliable, safe and simple. Most significantly, the service will be offered free, for life." Barros was named interim CEO on Tuesday, less than three weeks after Equifax disclosed that hackers accessed sensitive data for 143 million U.S. consumers.
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Equifax Will Offer Free Credit Locks for Life, New CEO Says

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  • by fennec ( 936844 ) on Thursday September 28, 2017 @04:24AM (#55268177)
    All the details needed are currently available on pastebin for your convinience.
  • by GeekWithAKnife ( 2717871 ) on Thursday September 28, 2017 @04:26AM (#55268181)

    Oh wow, Free!

    How can I immediately hand over any more data to Equifax?

    This is why we need multi-factor-multi-signature operations. If I have PART of the key required to read/write my own personal data then there's a good chance any stolen data is useless.
    • I am in the process of eliminating all credit. My wife and I just paid cash for a new home in a rural area and plan on just using cash. When we travel we will just get a pre-paid card for the convenience. I am done with banks and credit agencies.

      I noticed your name. I have many knives and various other blades. Nice to meet you.

      • I am in the process of eliminating all credit.

        That won't necessarily get rid of your credit-bureau record(s). Sure the closed credit accounts and paid-off loans will expire off your record after, I think, seven years, but your personal information will remain, probably, forever.

      • Don't worry. With the Equifax information, the bad guys will open credit lines for you.

    • Well, that's part of my Congressional platform [johnmoserforcongress.com]. It's a hell of a campaign: I'm going to stop identity theft, lower taxes, make Social Security permanently-solvent, and end poverty.

  • Why So Long? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mentil ( 1748130 ) on Thursday September 28, 2017 @04:40AM (#55268195)

    I guess this is an attempt to head off legislation mandating free credit locks and unlocks (among other things). They already offer this for a fee, so I'm wondering why it's going to take them 4 months to lower the price to $0. Sure, it'll take some time to reengineer the site to no longer go through the checkout/charging process, but they could keep that process and lower the price to $1 (or less) within minutes, probably just a database field change. Is it really safe to wait 4 months for it to go free? I have a feeling the people who would lock their credit, will pay the ~$10 to do it now rather than risk keeping it unlocked 4 more months, suggesting this 4 month wait is artificial to make it seem like they're doing something while still profiting from their own incompetence.

    • Re:Why So Long? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by reboot246 ( 623534 ) on Thursday September 28, 2017 @05:18AM (#55268259) Homepage
      There is no good reason they couldn't do it in one day. I suspect they're trying to get some good publicity from people who don't know any better. Your typical American, who doesn't pay attention to details, will be impressed by this move, all the while letting their credit be vulnerable.

      All of the credit reporting companies should offer free credit locking and unlocking, and there was never any reason, other than greed, that they should have been charging for it.
    • Re:Why So Long? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Talderas ( 1212466 ) on Thursday September 28, 2017 @07:11AM (#55268523)

      Seven states already entitle you to zero cost credit freezes. This includes Colorado, Indiana, Maine, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, and South Carolina. They may be trying to get ahead of state legislation but my guess is that they're going through damage control with regard to their customers (entities that give credit) not with regard to their data (the people with SSNs). After all, if Equifax is the only one of the big three to make it easy and free for credit freezes to be places, lifted, and removed, then the credit granting entities have reason to use Equifax over TU or Experian as it reduces the risks that they are complicit in identity fraud and give credit to people who are never going to repay.

    • They probably need the 4 months to fix their crappy system. Your credit account is locked using a pass code that they provide. The pass code is the timestamp of the date you requested the lock [sophos.com]. Come on people. This isn't hard.

    • it'll take some time to reengineer the site to no longer go through the checkout/charging process, but they could keep that process and lower the price to $1 (or less) within minutes, probably just a database field change.

      They probably forgot the password to the database. Maybe they should try "admin", or "password".

      • Well they did just fire their CEO, CIO, and CSO, and I'm sure heads did roll in their security group....so that is actually possible.
        • Well they did just fire their CEO, CIO, and CSO, and I'm sure heads did roll in their security group....so that is actually possible.

          Actually, I think they "retired". Wouldn't that be a nice option for the rest of us not-rich folks, rather than getting fired, when things go wrong?

          • Depends on what "retire" means. There are a few organizations that you don't want to "retire" you.

            And if you imagine they got "retired" this way, it's all a lot easier to stomach.

    • Re:Why So Long? (Score:4, Informative)

      by dmiller1984 ( 705720 ) on Thursday September 28, 2017 @08:05AM (#55268721) Homepage
      They are already offering credit freezes for free. I signed up for it two weeks ago and it did not ask for any credit card or other payment information. I'm not sure if they currently charge for unfreezing, though.
      • Re:Why So Long? (Score:4, Informative)

        by 140Mandak262Jamuna ( 970587 ) on Thursday September 28, 2017 @08:19AM (#55268803) Journal
        What you signed up for two weeks ago was to give up your right to sue Equifax and agreed to binding arbitration. That is all. They were not planning to do anything with respect to credit freeze. Even now they want four months of damage control and get as many people to give up the rights as possible.
        • Re:Why So Long? (Score:5, Informative)

          by dmiller1984 ( 705720 ) on Thursday September 28, 2017 @08:27AM (#55268863) Homepage

          What you signed up for two weeks ago was to give up your right to sue Equifax and agreed to binding arbitration. That is all. They were not planning to do anything with respect to credit freeze. Even now they want four months of damage control and get as many people to give up the rights as possible.

          I didn't sign up for their credit check service on that shady Equifax Security 2017 website. I actually signed up for a credit freeze and I did so with the other two agencies as well. I used the site below. Equifax Security Freeze [equifax.com]

        • What you signed up for two weeks ago was to give up your right to sue Equifax and agreed to binding arbitration.

          That's a well-traveled urban myth that Equifax specifically addressed weeks ago, here [equifaxsecurity2017.com]:

          No Waiver Of Rights For This Cyber Security Incident

          In response to consumer inquiries, we have made it clear that the arbitration clause and class action waiver included in the Equifax and TrustedID Premier terms of use does not apply to this cybersecurity incident.

    • They already offer this for a fee, so I'm wondering why it's going to take them 4 months to lower the price to $0.

      Other than ripping you off for flipping some bits, I think they use the fee to help verify that it's you - or at least your credit card (that you specify) - locking the account. Removing that from the equation will require them adding something else in the verification process. Perhaps still requiring a CC but w/o actually placing a charge on it, but then the actual CC owner wouldn't see anything. Just a guess.

      I froze all my accounts back in 2011 and there was a $10 fee at each of the three credit bureau

    • That's a presumption.

      A more cynical presumption is that the existing system will remain, but one will have to sign up for a new service for the instant free version. Be interesting to see what baggage it includes in the Ts and Cs.

      • by suutar ( 1860506 )

        One of the three (I think it was transunion) already has a service that lets you "freeze" your record for free. I opted to spend the 10 bucks because nowhere in the description of "freeze" did they actually say that anyone would be less able to get the info...

        • by suutar ( 1860506 )

          rereading, I see I was unclear. The "freeze" was part of a free service. The 10 bucks was for a real, nobody-gets-the-info credit freeze.

    • It might be that they expect a influx of activity once the price is dropped to 0 and are working on avoiding an embarrassing AHCA roll-out type disaster with the system crashing and largely being unusable
    • I guess this is an attempt to head off legislation mandating free credit locks and unlocks (among other things). They already offer this for a fee, so I'm wondering why it's going to take them 4 months to lower the price to $0. Sure, it'll take some time to reengineer the site to no longer go through the checkout/charging process, but they could keep that process and lower the price to $1 (or less) within minutes, probably just a database field change. Is it really safe to wait 4 months for it to go free? I have a feeling the people who would lock their credit, will pay the ~$10 to do it now rather than risk keeping it unlocked 4 more months, suggesting this 4 month wait is artificial to make it seem like they're doing something while still profiting from their own incompetence.

      Indiana already mandates that Credit Locks be free.

      I hate this state; but at least they got THAT one right!

  • Come on! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ls671 ( 1122017 ) on Thursday September 28, 2017 @04:42AM (#55268197) Homepage

    Come on! How many attempts from Equifax will we see to bring the situation to their advantage.
    -we fired the bad girl first, but then we fired the bad guy also, after we realized this was too big.
    -now, we'll give freebees to everybody!

    Wait in five years when nobody remembers or forgot to read the fine prints. Instead, they should be held accountable for any damage any consumer might have suffer from because of the breach.

    • Instead, they should be held accountable for any damage any consumer might have suffer from because of the breach.

      That's a nice sentiment, but the problem seems to be proving damages suffered because of the breach. You can't hold them accountable (financially responsible) for something that might have happened. My information making it into the wild on the back of the Equifax breach does not exclude the possibility of the same information getting into the wild from some other source. No criminal is going t

  • by ytene ( 4376651 ) on Thursday September 28, 2017 @05:13AM (#55268247)
    I appreciate that the comments I make here might be more relevant to EU readers than US ones, but I think the principles should be universal.

    When I trade with any company, those transactions are confidential between myself and that company. If I *choose* to perform that transaction with a debit or credit card in order to make the transaction easier or more convenient, that is my choice.

    However, the Data Protection Act and associated EU data protection laws basically prohibit the use of information, which may have been collected for one purpose [i.e. to transact a sale] from being used for another purpose [i.e. to provide credit reference information] without the expressed, written consent of the data subject. The reason that Equifax and Experian and all the other credit-reference agencies "get away" with what they do is simply that the terms and conditions - which we are essentially forced to accept if we want a credit/debit card, mortgage, loan or other financial service - are written to allow the creditor to do exactly that. The creditor writes the terms and conditions that way ostensibly to have the ability to cross-check our credit history and so protect themselves from bad debt and from financial crime. Except, as we know, this is now being completely abused.

    Governments turn a blind eye to this practice because their elected officials are on the receiving end of so much lobbying money from the companies that do this, it is easy for the industry to "buy off" potentially opposing votes from all parties until the industry can propose a change to laws and buy the result that they want. Unfortunately, this creates a situation in which the government is acting against the best interests of the majority of people that elected them.

    I have no problem with a law being passed that legally requires me to declare all pertinent parts of my credit history if I want a loan or a credit card or a bank account. I have no problem with a law that allows for certain forms of credit history - for example, people being declared bankrupt, or having court judgements against them - being "on the record" and visible to lenders.

    Where I *do* have a problem is in the use, sale and profit from my personal information, in a manner that is not compatible with the purpose for which I originally agreed to disclose that information, without my knowledge and/or consent.

    That is plainly an unacceptable level of scope creep.

    Rather than simply push to see Equifax ditch a few of their senior officers, we need to be pushing to have the entire credit-checking, data-sharing-for-profit industry declared illegal and to have these parasitic outfits shut down permanently. All they do is increase the amount of junk mail that comes through my door offering me new credit cards.

    No thanks.
    • by klingens ( 147173 ) on Thursday September 28, 2017 @05:24AM (#55268273)

      I appreciate that the comments I make here might be more relevant to EU readers than US ones, but I think the principles should be universal.

      When I trade with any company, those transactions are confidential between myself and that company. If I *choose* to perform that transaction with a debit or credit card in order to make the transaction easier or more convenient, that is my choice.

      However, the Data Protection Act and associated EU data protection laws basically prohibit the use of information, which may have been collected for one purpose [i.e. to transact a sale] from being used for another purpose [i.e. to provide credit reference information] without the expressed, written consent of the data subject.
       

      I don't know every one of the >30 countries of Europe but here in Germany it's already too late by decades. It's not called Equifax but Schufa, but what they do is exactly the same. Schufa was created 1927.
      However they are smaller: ~80 million people in Germany and they have datasets for ~66 million people and 5 million businesses. They have 750 employees and have revenues of approx. 150 million euros.
      Every form of credit transaction already has this kind of consent here in Europe too, just like have they have it in the US. Have you read your card legalese?

      The difference between Europe and the US is: very few things are bought on credit. Europeans don't buy groceries, clothes with credit cards, they use cash. Alternatively they use their EC cards (which grew out of eurocheques: europe wide usable cheques). EC cards draw the money directly from your banking account and is therefore usually not a form of credit: if you don't have enough cash there, the transaction won't get through.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        The difference is not between Europe and the US. It's specifically Germany that is quite card-averse. While visiting my friends in DE earlier this year I was amazed how few places accepted VISA. In the next country to the east I paid for my grocery yesterday, my lunch today and even my on-the-go coffee a moment ago with a credit card (even more precisely, with a NFC phone tied to a credit card). Scandinavia is even more card-friendly, you could live a lot of your life not seeing cash at all. In the UK peopl

        • The Netherlands is the same. People here find it very bizarre to use credit cards for everyday shopping.

          • I believe what you are seeing more of is actually a debit card (directly tied to a fixed account with pre-deposited money amounts). The transactions go through the credit card companies, but are directly tied to a bank account and not a line of credit.
      • by phayes ( 202222 )

        I agree that Europeans never moved to Credit cards the way they did in the states and that we tend to use debit cards (where the moneyspent using the card is deducted from your account month/bi-monthly/weekly/immediately (depending on the card) but you seem to have missed why Americans prefer credit-cards: In the U.S. your credit rating is needed for loans like for cars & homes.

        In the U.S. someone who regularly uses credit from a card and has regularly paid off that debt on time is a known element and w

        • by OzPeter ( 195038 ) on Thursday September 28, 2017 @06:46AM (#55268445)

          but you seem to have missed why Americans prefer credit-cards: In the U.S. your credit rating is needed for loans like for cars & homes

          Screw the credit history part. The main reason I use a credit card for *everything* is that you can't easily dispute a debit card transaction. The money has already gone from your account and you have much better consumer protections when using a credit card.

          • Get a better financial institution? My Credit Union immediately loans me any disputed amount on my debit card. If it's determined that it's fraudulent, the money stays in my account. If it turns out that I was wrong, I have to give it back. That makes using a debit card far less risky. Tied to a "monthly expenses" account, which we automatically fund the first of every month, we've got a limited amount of funds exposed at any time, with the assurances of credit-card like fraud disputes. From a budgetary sta

          • by phayes ( 202222 )

            Why don't you use a debit card then? Maybe because (as I stated) "Add to that that credit cards add some guarantees against fraud, insurance, etc."?

            Take another look at the difference between debit cards and credit cards and tell us why you use credit cards.

            • Why don't you use a debit card then?

              In my case, mainly because with a debit card, the money is already gone. With a credit card, it's in your own pocket. That gives you a much better bargaining position when things go wrong.

              • by phayes ( 202222 )

                In the E.U., there is no functional difference as the guarantees are the same for credit and debit (as long as your account is sufficiently provisioned).

                Methinks you're mistaking a psychological difference for a functional difference especially as in both cases, the bank is managing your account and the money isn't in your pocket.

                If you have a functional difference you can point out I'm still interested.

                • I admire your trust in the law, but it's a bit naive.

                  IF I owe you money, you're going to care a lot more about making the accounts even than if you owe me money. In the case of the debit card (and I'm trying to get the fraud money back), the bank owes me money. In the case of the credit card, I owe the bank money.

                  In one case, the company will do no more than required by law. Which case is that?
                  • by phayes ( 202222 )

                    I know that the system here in Europe is different than the one you are accustomed to but please pay attention and _read_ what I write as I am not & have not been referring to the U.S but to the E.U.:
                    - The protections for debit cards and credit cards are identical here.
                    - In both cases the bank has control of the money in your account and will pay it out to a creditor in the exact same fashion.
                    - Fraud procedures and protections are identical.
                    - Both debit and credit cards have withdrawal ceilings which ha

                    • Of course of course, there is no difference in legal protection.

                      Now you stop being naive, and say something that shows you at least read what I wrote.
      • Debit cards (your EC card equivalent) are offered with most bank accounts created here in the US as well. The transaction do however go the major credit card company systems just like a credit transaction but it checks your account balance. So not much different from your country. Most people here is the US do use debit cards and only use the credit cards for things that they do not have the cash on hand (e.g. traveling). Most use credit cards only to differentiate between personal and business related

        • by DarkOx ( 621550 ) on Thursday September 28, 2017 @07:53AM (#55268667) Journal

          Using a debit card for anything other than when you want to withdraw cash is stupid behavior. Don't do it, that is for the uneducated and poor people who can't get a credit limit high enough to get them thru a month!

          You have vastly better consumer protection in terms of being able to dispute charges using a CC, rather than a debit. If you pay the entire bill every month there is no interest cost. Even most no-fee cards now offer some kind of points or cash back rewards. Often that can go as high as %2 on a no-fee card! Seriously doing any purchasing you possibly can your CC can mean a nice little payday!

          Also keep in mind you are not just leaving money on the table not doing this, you are actually having your pocket picked. Retailers all pay merchant fees to the card processors and issuing banks. That is where those rewards payouts come from; they pass those fees right on back to the customers in terms of higher prices. So effectively anyone not doing CC purchases or using a CC that offers inferior rewards are subsidizing the payouts to everyone else. So your really should take advantage, if only to not be taken advantage of yourself. Yes its stupid and unfair system, and if at some point everyone catches on it would actually stop working and probably come to an end. Do you are part to make it a better world, in this case all you have to do is claim your free money.

          • by JD-1027 ( 726234 )
            Just to further back this post up... When you say 2% cash back, it can get better than that. I have two cards that do 5% for different things that change each quarter. These are no fee cards too. For example, the categories are things like gas, restaurants, home improvement stores.

            For Christmas season, this last quarter, one card is 5% for Amazon purchases and the other includes 5% back on department stores (like Walmart).

            5% cash back adds up pretty quickly to a chunk of money.
          • Since the Chipotle EFT breach, I've been using cash for everything I buy in person, withdrawing (typically) $100 from my account at a time, and I'm really beginning to wish I'd done this a long time ago. Not only do I have more privacy with respect to my purchasing habits, but balancing my account every month is so much easier when the total number of transactions every month is cut down to about 10% of what it used to be. Next will be 'closing the gap' with regard to online payments, which I don't have muc
          • "Using a debit card for anything other than when you want to withdraw cash is stupid behavior. ... You have vastly better consumer protection in terms of being able to dispute charge"

            Why would I want to be able to dispute a charge? If I am making the transaction, it's not fraud. If I'm buying something like groceries, or a new shirt, there is exactly zero chance that I'm going to involve a credit card company in any dissatisfaction I may have.

            And there are two reasons *not* to use a credit card. First, priv

            • Why would I want to be able to dispute a charge? If I am making the transaction, it's not fraud. If I'm buying something like groceries, or a new shirt, there is exactly zero chance that I'm going to involve a credit card company in any dissatisfaction I may have.

              Right, so there's exactly zero chance that a retailer is going to make a mistake in their advantage and then refuse to fix it?

          • by epine ( 68316 )

            Also keep in mind you are not just leaving money on the table not doing this, you are actually having your pocket picked. Retailers all pay merchant fees to the card processors and issuing banks. That is where those rewards payouts come from; they pass those fees right on back to the customers in terms of higher prices.

            Can't see the forest for the trees, can you? The entire CC system raises prices unnecessarily, in direct proportion to how much credits cards are actually used.

            You've got your eyes fixated o

            • Can't see the forest for the trees, can you? The entire CC system raises prices unnecessarily, in direct proportion to how much credits cards are actually used.

              That has no impact on my personal finances. If I stop using my card everywhere, prices aren't coming down. You could consider it a prisoner's dilemma with a very large number of players, and we're not going to get large numbers of people to forego the personal benefits without assurance that they'll pay lower prices.

              You're on the dopamine-driven

      • by houghi ( 78078 )

        EC cards are debit cards. In Belgium they are Bank Contact or now called Maestro.
        Schufa is BNB in Belgium.

        The thing is: who has access to the information and what do they see?
        In Belgium it is only the official credit companies and banks. They only see essential information. e.g. not the names of the other companies.
        Also when you close a credit, three months later it will be not visible anymore, so no history. Just current info.

        Many people buy on credit. Not as bad as in the US, but plenty people do. However

    • by swb ( 14022 )

      I think in a modern economy you ultimately need credit reporting to lower the transaction cost of lending and to make risk estimation as efficient as possible.

      But I do think credit data should be locked by default, and only unlocked by consumers at the time they actually want to borrow money. This should go along with more stringent proof-of-data standards to avoid false information to be reported and with whom and how the information can be shared.

      In my opinion, the larger systemic problem with "open" cre

    • by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Thursday September 28, 2017 @07:29AM (#55268577)

      When I trade with any company, those transactions are confidential between myself and that company. If I *choose* to perform that transaction with a debit or credit card in order to make the transaction easier or more convenient, that is my choice.

      Credit and debit card info is already protected by law in the U.S. A merchant cannot give or sell it to someone else. They can't even keep a copy of it legally.

      Unless you agree to let them. That little checkbox that says "save my credit card info for future purchases"? That's not just for your convenience. That's what grants the merchant permission to store you credit card info in their database.

      Where I *do* have a problem is in the use, sale and profit from my personal information, in a manner that is not compatible with the purpose for which I originally agreed to disclose that information, without my knowledge and/or consent.

      This right here is the problem with your approach. The info the credit bureaus collect wasn't disclosed by you. It was disclosed to them by the other party in the transaction - the people and companies you did business with. If you paid a bill late, the person (e.g. landlord) or company (e.g. the power utility) reported that to one or more credit bureaus. Likewise if your credit card has a $10k credit limit and use $2k of it on average and you pay it off on time each month, the credit card company reports that to the credit bureaus. So while the info is about you, it's not provided by you. It's provided by others that you interact with financially. Your credit report is basically a collation of Yelp ratings on you by everyone you've interacted with financially.

      So why not pass a law prohibiting others from reporting your financial behavior to the credit bureaus? We could, but it won't have the effect most people seem to think it will. There's so much hatred for the credit bureaus, that most people don't understand that the only thing the credit bureaus can do is help you. If you have no credit, that's the same thing as having bad credit. Lenders have to assume the worst case scenario to protect their finances. (The exception is when you're in college - then it's known that you're just starting out and have a good reason for having no credit history, so the eventual credit for college students is slightly better than the average adult.) How willing are you to try out a restaurant with no Yelp reviews? You probably wouldn't risk taking a first date there or holding a family reunion there - you'd minimize the risk by trying it out first alone or with a few friends. Likewise, if a lender knows nothing about you, they're going to assume the worst - that you're highly unlikely to pay back any money they lend you, and charge you a high interest rate accordingly.

      Unless a credit bureau vouches for you and reports that you're good about paying your bills, and are low risk. When a lender sees that, they're more willing to lend you money and will charge you a lower interest rate for it because they are confident you are low risk. In other words, the normal state isn't easy loans and the credit bureaus making your life hell when you have poor credit. That hell state is the normal state, and the credit bureaus make your life easier when they say you have good credit.

      Prohibiting people and businesses from reporting this info about you to the credit bureaus will make it on average harder and more expensive for you to borrow money, not easier. Which gets us back to that little checkbox for storing your credit card info. Every loan you take out, every credit card you own, every lease you sign, every service you sign up for with a monthly bill will have a similar checkbox requesting you give them permission to report your financial behavior to the credit bureaus. Fail to check that box and you'll just consign yourself to the worst possible credit rating,

      • by ytene ( 4376651 )
        Lots of interesting observations here - thank you...

        However, just to take issue with one specific point you make. When you write, "Unless you agree to let them. That little checkbox that says "save my credit card info for future purchases"? That's not just for your convenience. That's what grants the merchant permission to store you credit card info in their database.", you are rather making my point for me.

        Even if I *do* agree to let the vendor keep a copy of my card details on file to streamline su
    • by houghi ( 78078 )

      In Belgium credits are all collected at the National bank. You can find information yourself with all the loans, credits and debit cards for yourself.

      If you are a credit company or a bank you MUST first look if there are no mentioning as late payments (meaning 3 months late payment) as that means you are not allowed to give people a credit.
      You MUST put the new loan on it as other banks and credit companies can see it.
      All these companies can see is the amount of the loan, monthly max payment and some other e

    • Where I *do* have a problem is in the use, sale and profit from my personal information, in a manner that is not compatible with the purpose for which I originally agreed to disclose that information, without my knowledge and/or consent.

      I also have a problem with the credit bureaus profiting from the use and sale of my personal information.

      That being said, would it be feasible to copyright all of my Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and demand payment for the use of my copyrighted material? If they won't pay, then send them a DMCA notice to remove my copyrighted PII from their database and sue them in small claims court for nonpayment.

    • by bigpat ( 158134 )

      The only alternative where companies don't have to hire private detectives in order to give you credit would be for the government to provide an easy way for lenders to check public records to see if people have gone bankrupt or have been sued for failure to pay a debt.

      That theoretically might be better as there would have to be due process around what information is provided to prospective lenders, but it could also be even worse than the current system because the government is usually less accountable fo

      • the one question I keep having and haven't seen an answer for is why is there more than one credit rating organization in the US?
  • They will require you to let them sell your information to "trusted" partners and receive "targeted offers". I guarantee it!
  • What does lifetime service do consumers good when the morons at Equifucks have to close shop after they get slammed with the massive verdicts and penalties? For them to claim that any of their service is "safe" is like the dentist telling you that you do not need Septocaine for drilling into half a dozen teeth.
  • Equifax; where ONLY criminals get access to your credit data.

  • Permanently and For Life should be in air quotes.
  • by swb ( 14022 ) on Thursday September 28, 2017 @06:21AM (#55268387)

    I think the erroneous credit information data is a large problem that doesn't get enough attention.

    The customers of credit agencies are lenders, not consumers, and this means that credit agencies have an incentive to report the highest marginal risk of any potential borrower. The utility value to lenders of a credit report is a loan made at the highest possible risk premium, enabling a profitable loan portfolio.

    When credit agencies report a potential borrower as a higher risk than they actually are because of erroneous information, the lender gets to charge a higher risk premium -- interest rate -- than the actuarial risk represented by their true borrowing history. This makes the lenders more profitable, basically able to justify an added borrowing cost.

    You would think that competition among lenders would mitigate this, with some lenders using the gap between higher reported risk and actuarial risk to charge lower interest rates. But they have no incentive to do this, accurately estimating the nominal and actual risk requires a lot of estimation (and some risk) cost and since nearly all their competitors will use the same credit agency risk data, the will end up charging the same risk premium. Lending thus becomes a price-fixing cartel, with the price fixing to consumers coordinated by a third party, the credit agency.

    At the end of the day, the credit agencies have a incentive to leave junk data in credit histories because it allows lenders to inflate risk premiums and thus profits. This goes a long way to explaining why they want to include information not related to borrower repayment history in credit reports (driving records, divorce records, social media information, etc). They want to add extra negative drag on credit scores to raise borrowing costs to consumers and thus further boost their customers', the lenders, profits.

    There should be much more stringent rules on removing bad data in credit reports. Credit agencies should have 30 days (or less) to provide material proof of bad credit data or it should be automatically removed. Failure to comply should be a $500 per false data item penalty. Credit reports should only contain borrowing information. Past loan repayment history should be the only gauge of lending risk.

  • Wait a second... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Thursday September 28, 2017 @06:52AM (#55268463) Homepage Journal

    They just gave up enough information to recreate everyone's identity.

    If they're going to make it EASY to lock AND UNLOCK your credit... does anyone else see the problem here?

    • Yeah that's why I questioned the utility of everyone freezing their credit initially when the breach happened... anyone looking to unfreeze your account has enough information that they will be able to play dumb long enough with a customer service rep to get things unlocked... "uh, no, I don't remember what security question I used"
  • ... You give up the right to sue Equifax for any reason, and agree to binding arbitration, and agree to give Equifax, your first born, an arm and a leg and your immortal soul.
  • Lemme guess - to activate this service I have to provide the information that was stolen on 150,000,000 accounts?

    Imma steal your identity and then lock it. +1 infosecs

  • by fredrated ( 639554 ) on Thursday September 28, 2017 @08:52AM (#55268991) Journal

    still exist?

  • by dingleberrie ( 545813 ) on Thursday September 28, 2017 @08:57AM (#55269015)

    So before the leak, I didn't feel the need to lock and unlock my credit with such diligence. Each change sometimes requires a certified letter or some other cost not collected as a fee. Now they will offer those changes without a fee (but not compensating me for my cost to make changes) and I'm still expected to pay fees and similar costs for that same service to Transunion and Experian. This is a much worse state and a feeless credit lock at Equifax does little to remedy. We need an overhaul of the system in the US.

    • Err - I have kept my credit reports frozen for years, only unfreezing when I make a large purchase like my house or a car (the last vehicle purchase we 4 months ago so I'm pretty sure the process it current). Never have I had to sent a certified letter. I have a PIN number for each of the 3 major agencies that I keep in a lock-box and use that to deactivate the freeze for a set amount of time. It takes me all of 20 minutes to lift the freeze on all of them, and I generally to a "timeframe" lift so that a

    • Mod parent up. If you're considered about identity fraud, a credit freeze is the way to go. Plus it's the only way to really get back at the credit bureaus. They hate credit freezes since it directly impacts their income. If you're not in the market for new credit, freeze it instead.
  • my initial reaction too the "Equifax hack" news was that the company will be gone in a year. They are going to be liable for huge penalties under the existing laws, and will simply not be able to stay in business.

    MOST important is the fact that their business was "privacy"/security of personally identifiable information . While they probably weren't any worse at protecting their I.T. infrastructure than any other large company (looking at you Sony), the expectations are higher. Equifax's future is probably

  • Any organization that blunders in THIS proportion should have been eliminated and dissected, its assets sold off to the highest bidder and the revenue used to compensate the damaged parties no later than two weeks ago.

  • This company does not deserve to survive. Unfortunately, as the memory of the incident fades, so will Congress's desire to do anything about it.
  • Who the hell do they thonk is ever going to trust equifax again after this fiasco?
  • Can't wait, it'll be an online service where they store your passwords in cleartext!

  • Credit FREEZES are already free, and are far better than Credit Locks. Companies like Equifax cannot sell your information if you request a credit freeze. From Brian Krebs [krebsonsecurity.com]:

    Q: I see that Trans Union has a free offering. And it looks like they offer another free service called a credit lock. Why shouldn’t I just use that?

    A: I haven’t used that monitoring service, but it looks comparable to others. However, I take strong exception to the credit bureaus’ increasing use of the term “cre

  • *that is, for the "life" of Equifax...which is probably measured in weeks at this point.

There are two kinds of egotists: 1) Those who admit it 2) The rest of us

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