State Attorney Generals Asking Equifax To Disable Fee Monitoring
There are three primary credit-reporting agencies in the US that banks and other institutions use to evaluate your credit worthiness. Transunion, Experian, and Equifax.
Recently Equifax was a victim of cyber hacking and the personal, financial and credit information of at least 143 million Americans were compromised.
This was not just credit card numbers. Included would be banking information including account numbers, social security numbers, loans, investments and other personal financial data.
Montana Attorney General Tim Fox is joining with AG’s from other states requesting that Equifax disable it’s fee based monitoring system in response to the breach.
Credit reporting agencies offer to monitor your credit for a monthly fee to alert you of any suspicious activity.
The AG’s are requesting that Equifax offer that service free of charge.
The attorneys general launched an investigation as soon as Equifax publicly disclosed the breach last week.
Equifax is offering free credit monitoring services in response to the breach, but the attorneys general today objected to Equifax "seemingly using its own data breach as an opportunity to sell services to breach victims," they wrote.
"We believe continuing to offer consumers a fee-based service in addition to Equifax's free monitoring services will serve to only confuse consumers who are already struggling to make decisions on how to best protect themselves in the wake of this massive breach," the attorneys general wrote. "Selling a fee-based product that competes with Equifax's own free offer of credit monitoring services to victims of Equifax's own data breach is unfair, particularly if consumers are not sure if their information was compromised."
In addition the AG’s have requested that Equifax wave the fee for freezing your credit information.
All three agencies offer to freeze your credit as a protection from identity theft by prohibiting any agency from having access to your credit unless you know you are applying for a loan or opening an account.
While Equifax has agreed to waive credit freeze fees for customers including Montana residents the other two bureaus are still charging for the services.
The AG’s want Equifax to refund any charges that customers incurred after the breach occurred which was in June and July of this year. Click here to see the language of the letter and the other states that have signed on.
To access a free copy of your credit report without a sales pitch of any kind use Annual Credit Report.