By now you know about Equifax security breach. If not here are the highlights:
- Equifax said data on 143 million U.S. customers was obtained in a breach.
- The breach was discovered July 29.
- Personal data including birth dates, credit card numbers and more were obtained in the breach.
- Three Equifax executives sold shares in the company days after the breach was discovered.
9/16/2017 Update: Check out this one about filing your taxes asap https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20170911/09104538187/ftc-advice-how-to-deal-with-equifax-hack-er-race-hackers-to-filing-your-taxes-before-they-do.shtml
Since some of my best people are web security professionals I was on a distribution list and received this advice:
Good evening.If you missed my recent Facebook post, I am sending this note to share important steps to protect your information as a result of the Equifax breach.First, use this link to determine if you are vulnerable.Second, if you discover you are vulnerable, reach out to each of the following credit agencies listed below and request a complementary security freeze on your account.1. Equifax – www.equifaxsecurity2017.com2. Experian – www.experian.com3. Transunion – http://freeze.transunion.com (If you go to their other website transition.com, you will be charged for a membership)4. Innovis – www.innovis.comIt’s important to take care of this as quickly as possible.Good luck!
So I attempted to follow this advice. Starting with Equifax.
After filling out the form to enact a security freeze I received this:
System Currently Unavailable – Error 500We’re sorry.
We cannot process your security freeze request online at this time. Please try back later.To make a security freeze request with the other national consumer credit reporting agencies, please contact Experian and TransUnion:
Experian,P.O Box 9554, Allen, TX 75013 (888)379-3742
TransUnion,P.O Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92834 (888)909-8872
Thank you for giving Equifax the opportunity to assist you.Equifax Information Services, LLC
Source: Equifax | Error
Not happy with this result I found the following contact information:
For consumers with additional questions, Equifax has established a dedicated call center. The call center is available at 866-447-7559, every day (including weekends) from 7:00 a.m. – 1:00 a.m. Eastern time.
I called and was told that they cannot do anything for me with regard to starting a security freeze. The only way is via the website.
Sorry – that’s some BULLSHIT!!
The Experian experience went a little better. Using the following link and entering all the information, I was greeted with success.
Thank you Experian.
TransUnion information starts with a bit of a threat:
About credit freeze
A credit freeze may be available under your state law. Be aware, a credit freeze may require payment of a fee as well as a waiting period when you want to unfreeze it to apply for credit in the future. For more information, click here.
Which didn’t matter because they threw this error at me from the home page:
We are experiencing heavy volumes due to the Equifax breach. Please try your request again later.
The Innovis experience went smoothly, except when I submitted my request I received a reply that I’d get a confirmation, etc, at the email address I entered. But their form didn’t have an email address field?! So WTF?
This whole thing is one big FUBAR event. Some things that bug the shit out of me about it include (but are not limited to):
- Why have they waited so long to tell people about the breach?
- Those asshole execs sold shares after they knew about it but before we knew about it.
- Equifax should have a 800 number where people can get their accounts frozen and staff it appropriately.
- Putting a security freeze on an account better not cost anyone a dime!
- Why was their security hole allowed to exist so long? Do they have ethical hackers on staff and if not, why not? And if yes – FIRE THEM.
The paranoia in me, brought on by constant government and corporate manipulation and mendacity, makes me wonder how much of this is going to play into the plan to move to digital currency and why we would allow that when we see how adept they are at protecting us.
The whole “credit score” game (and there are apps for that) is rather disgusting anyway. You could be totally out of debt, own your own home and car outright and have the worst ever credit score. You are not rewarded in this game by managing your money highly efficiently. There is something really wrong with that.
Most USAmericans are deeply in debt. The total debt owed by U.S. consumers in credit cards alone is $784 BILLION. If you combine credit cards, mortgages, auto loans and student loans the total is $12.84 TRILLION
Debt is a way of life for Americans, with overall U.S. household debt increasing by 11% in the past decade. Today, the average household with credit card debt has balances totaling $16,883, and the average household with any kind of debt owes $137,063, including mortgages.
Debt soars as it becomes more expensive to be an American
Household income has grown by 28% in the past 13 years, but the cost of living has gone up 30% in that time period. Some of the largest expenses for consumers — like medical care, food and housing — have significantly outpaced income growth.
So USAmericans are living with significant debt while:
One in three do not have money put aside for retirement. SOURCE
And 6 in 10 Americans don’t have any savings at all! SOURCE
Take a moment to really think about that. It’s no wonder people are living on their credit, in debt!
And that’s just the way the system likes it. Remember George W Bush after 9/11 saying, “get out and shop”?
Our whole culture is based on getting out and shopping, having more, bigger and better. Why if you don’t have a big house, two cars, put your kids through college, and work like a dog in your corporate job clocking 60+ hours of work per week, you’re not keeping up with the Kardashians.
Endless growth, despite finite resources, is the name of the game and it’s a game that is leaving the players empty and unhappy. And… deeply in debt with no security to speak of. If you don’t have family and or friends to help you, well, you’re just SOL when the time comes that you have an emergency and the cupboard is empty.
Just some food for thought as we all ponder this Equifax debacle.
In the words of Janice Joplin, “It’s all just bullshit, man.”