Massachusetts AG Healey sues credit reporting firm Equifax

Andrew Cummings
September 21, 2017

CHARLESTON -West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey warns the public of a scam in which callers impersonate Equifax employees, calling and seeking more personal information in the wake of last week's massive data breach potentially affecting more than 730,000 West Virginia consumers. Please research credit freezes so you fully understand the process and the concept. They use false telephone numbers, impersonate Equifax representatives and claim to be verifying account information.

"Consumers should make sure that they are accessing the correct website through the correct Equifax link", said General Hood. Equifax, one of the nation's three major credit reporting bureaus, says their system was compromised between May and July of this year and includes names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and driver's license numbers. Equifax provided resources to customers to check if their personal financial information has been compromised - but the system does not work and returns random results and results for fake entries, showing further negligence and contempt for consumers. In the meantime, Equifax is displaying a phone number that consumers may call to receive a PIN.

Once the company had an idea of the potentially impacted population, they addressed the public with the news on September 7 - 40 days after becoming aware of the breach. The episode, though, has revealed that up until now, the big three credit reporting companies have had a lot of clout in Washington, D.C., analysts say. "You're stuck with them".

"We're working through that, and, Jon, we will get to the bottom of this - both who breached that information, what types of lax policies existed at Equifax, and we will change corporate behavior and get everyone to up their game", declared the Attorney General. You may want to check again.

She recommends consumers sign up for a credit monitoring program whether they were affected or not. After the initial 90-day period, you can decide whether to let the fraud alert expire, extend the fraud alert if you have evidence of identity theft and have filed the necessary report, or apply a credit freeze if you have greater concerns. The letters also ask whether the companies are considering waiving the fees for consumer credit freezes.

Parents and grandparents should place a freeze on their children and grandchildren's credit reports as well.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission declined to comment.

Also known as a security freeze, a credit freeze puts a hold on the release of your credit report, which makes opening a new credit account extremely hard for anyone but you.

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