The Equifax Fiasco and Dispute Resolution – updated

By now you’ve probably heard that Equifax was hacked and the personal data for approximately half the country has been compromised.   Naturally, you should check to see if you were affected here.  I’m proud to say that I’m potentially affected and scheduled to work with them on Wednesday – yay!

On Friday evening on the way home from work there was plenty of coverage about what to do and once commenter said that Equifax would only help out those with compromised data if they waived their right to sue and agreed to arbitrate any potential claims.  I presumed that this was a measure to preclude any forthcoming class actions, which conceivably can put Equifax out of business.  According to this piece in today’s Washington Post, Equifax has backtracked on the arbitration condition – relevant language below.

Initially, though, there was a catch — signing up would also commit you to binding arbitration with the credit monitor, which would mean giving up your right to sue. Several politicians and consumer groups have criticized this provision. Democrats in the House and Senate called on the company to pull back that requirement. Late Friday, Equifax said the arbitration language that appears on its website “will not apply to this cybersecurity incident.”

Good luck navigating your way through this fiasco.

Update

The FTC suggests taking these steps to take to help protect yourself after a data breach:

  • Check your credit reports from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — for free — by visiting annualcreditreport.com. Accounts or activity that you don’t recognize could indicate identity theft. Visit IdentityTheft.gov to find out what to do. check one credit report for free every four months at annualcreditreport.com.
  • Consider placing a credit freeze on your files. A credit freeze makes it harder for someone to open a new account in your name. Keep in mind that a credit freeze won’t prevent a thief from making charges to your existing accounts. [NYT recommends a permanent freeze]  https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0497-credit-freeze-faqs
  • Monitor your existing credit card and bank accounts closely for charges you don’t recognize.
  • If you decide against a credit freeze, consider placing a fraud alert on your files. A fraud alert warns creditors that you may be an identity theft victim and that they should verify that anyone seeking credit in your name really is you.
  • File your taxes early — as soon as you have the tax information you need, before a scammer can. Tax identity theft happens when someone uses your Social Security number to get a tax refund or a job. Respond right away to letters from the IRS.
  • Visit Identitytheft.gov/databreach to learn more about protecting yourself after a data breach.

In this piece the New York Times also suggested to use credit monitoring services that ping you every time there’s a change in your credit report

Hat tip – Roselle Wissler

 

One thought on “The Equifax Fiasco and Dispute Resolution – updated”

  1. Thank you for all of the insightful information. I found that I am also potentially affected. When I found out, I automatically signed up for the credit monitoring, not reading that I would be committed to binding arbitration rather than being able to sue. I was originally happy to see that Equifax has done this free credit monitoring, but the amount they would save by giving some extra cushion saves them plenty from any possible lawsuits. I am very surprised that Equifax pulled back so quickly when there was backlash from several politicians and consumer groups.
    I wonder how other individuals are handling this situation. I know that when you read the headline of “Equifax breach, your information might be in danger” everyone goes into a panic. This is someone’s worst nightmare, and putting a mandatory arbitration clause in the credit monitoring option is a way to prevent Equifax’s worst nightmare from becoming a reality. I find it interesting that they immediately pulled back once there was negative feedback. I would assume this would be due to keeping trust within the relationship (since they clearly tried hiding this information from consumers when they signed up for the credit monitoring).
    I appreciate the help from the other government sites, especially when they provide other ways to remedy this situation. I would have thought that Equifax could have provided more remedies for the situation, but since they have third parties coming in and providing other forms of nonspecific compensation. I have thought about freezing my credit score and with the information provided to me, I see this as a possible remedy from the breach. As a law student, seeing the word ‘free’ automatically peaks interest, and I have already requested my free credit reports from annualcreditreport.com.
    Thank you for the links that provide information to protect yourself from getting your information used by someone other than yourself, and information as to how to help remedy the situation if something has come from this fiasco. Now I know that with this situation, I have to take precautionary measures, and I have changed a lot of my personal information so there are more security precautions. Thanks again!

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