By now, we have all heard about the Equifax hack that as consumers, leaves us all vulnerable. As a consumer credit bureau, they have information that ranges from credit card numbers, social security numbers and driver’s license numbers to your medical bills. In short, this breach leaves us all vulnerable to identity theft.
Equifax is one of the “big three” consumer credit bureaus that generate credit reports to calculate your credit scores. What does that mean exactly? It means that approximately 143 million Americans could now have their personal and financial information visible to hackers. The good news in all of this upheaval is that the four major credit card companies (MasterCard, American Express, Capital One and Visa) all have policies in place that protect consumers from fraudulent purchases. In addition, most of them offer free fraud and unusual card activity protection to their customers.
While Equifax has apologized for this latest security breach, it gives rise to our concerns for better cyber security protection. At the present time, Federal laws require all companies to take sufficient steps to protect consumer data, but Credit Bureaus fall into a different category than banks. For example, banks are subject to strict oversight through audits and monitoring to ensure compliance. Credit Bureaus on the other hand, do not get examined until something like this hack has occurred.
Technology has evolved throughout the years with the idea that it would make our lives better. And while that may be true, it has also made us all more susceptible to criminals and hackers and those who would do us harm. And to that end, companies like Equifax must take serious action to prevent future attacks. As consumers, we are being asked to trust large organizations who are susceptible to hacking.
Equifax has offered one year of free credit monitoring to all customers and not just those affected by the hack. People can also place a security freeze on their Equifax credit file at no charge. In addition, they will be offering free identity theft protection to consumers. If you are concerned about your information you can go to https://trustedidpremier.com/eligibilty.html to see if your information has been impacted.
If you have concerns or questions, feel free to call your Box advisor.