Pat Lefemine's Link
Hit the link to see if you are on the list. This is really, really bad and will make ID Theft and Fraud even worse - if that was even possible.
If my ss number is out there, I want to know if anything is applied for.
Anyway, the three credit bureaus control your ability to get credit, they already have a your financial history and buying power. They have everything on you already - so there is no sense worrying about giving them your information as requested to participate in their free credit monitoring offer.
Some people have asked me: "If they already have my data, why are they asking for it again?" And it's a good question. They could easily just enroll you automatically. But they won't. The answer is simple. They are hoping you don't take them up on their free offer for a monitoring package. Every person that opts in, costs them money. So they are making you go out of your way to sign up because by doing so, only a subset of those affected actually use their service.
One unique thing I saw is their free credit monitoring service includes locking your SSN with equifax. This is something we (cybersecurity people) already have enabled, but they are offering it to you free, so you would be wise to take them up on it.
I think the response that you 'May have been a victim' is wordplay. They are required to notify and provide credit monitoring when there is evidence of a breach, but no clear evidence the data was copied or compromised. It's like saying someone may have stolen something from you but all they really know is a robber entered your home. So rather than speaking in the definitive - they word things so they are ambiguous. It's common. For all practicable purposes, "may" means "is" so just go with that.
Hope this helps.
Can you explain the "locking you SSN" thing please?
"Sharp-eyed social media users have combed through the data breach site's fine print — and have found what they argue is a red flag. Buried in the terms of service is language that bars those who enroll in the Equifax checker program from participating in any class-action lawsuits that may arise from the incident. Here's the relevant passage of the terms of service:
AGREEMENT TO RESOLVE ALL DISPUTES BY BINDING INDIVIDUAL ARBITRATION. PLEASE READ THIS ENTIRE SECTION CAREFULLY BECAUSE IT AFFECTS YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS BY REQUIRING ARBITRATION OF DISPUTES (EXCEPT AS SET FORTH BELOW) AND A WAIVER OF THE ABILITY TO BRING OR PARTICIPATE IN A CLASS ACTION, CLASS ARBITRATION, OR OTHER REPRESENTATIVE ACTION. ARBITRATION PROVIDES A QUICK AND COST EFFECTIVE MECHANISM FOR RESOLVING DISPUTES, BUT YOU SHOULD BE AWARE THAT IT ALSO LIMITS YOUR RIGHTS TO DISCOVERY AND APPEAL."
More at link.
I can elaborate some. You can request this service from any of the 3 credit bureaus. Some states have mandated this to be free for their residents, others you have to pay a fee for this service unless you have a police report proving you are a victim of Identity theft.
So bad guy gets your SSN and tries to establish credit in his name, or through a money mule, and when the SSN gets submitted by the creditor it is stopped - because you locked it. There is a notification process for you to unlock it but that goes back to your phone - which the bad guy does not have. Obviously, you would say NO. So you effectively prevent ID theft using your SSN. The bad guys throws away your SSN and moves on to an easier target.
Brilliant and simple step that nobody ever takes advantage of. It is being offered free by equifax if you are part of this breach.
I'm hoping that the guy who buys my information on the Dark Web improves my credit score some.
Reminds me of the old joke. One guy says to another, "Somebody stole our credit card". Other guy says: "Did you report it to the police?" First guy replies: "Nah, he spends less than my wife."
Is there any downside to locking ones ssn, and do you have to lock it with all the credit rating agencies or does one cover all?
gflight: FWIW, many would prefer individual arbitration to a class action lawsuit.
WRT the arbitration clause, you already are under several. If you have a problem with securities, you arbitrate with a SEC arbitrator. Car rental agreements go to arbitration. One I recall has all arbitrations in Phoenix, AZ under the laws of the state of Arizona. Such clauses are common.
Businesses like them because litigation is expensive. Arbitration, with a retired judge, can be faster and cheaper even after paying the cost of the judge.
That works for both sides. A civil lawsuit is not cheap. Spending $50-$100k on legal fees and years to get to hearing isn't for everyone or every problem.
Only Gullible Chumps need apply!!!
The way I have it set up now, it's a pain to unlock any of the accounts, and I believe there is a small charge to unlock the account but it keeps me from opening up any extra credit cards. The only real draw back is when a store offers a deal if you open a store credit card, I end up passing on it because of the hassle of unlocking the accounts,
Doesn't surprise me, someone stole my ID once. After they looked it over they sent me a hundred dollars and said they'd pray for me. ;)
Locking the SSN, called a credit freeze, needs to be done with each individual credit reporting agency. Vendors (car dealers, banks, etc) will call one of the big three, you need that one locked. So to be safe, you freeze all 3. It might cost a bit and you have to do it each time you freeze it. So if you are "frozen" and then go to buy a car, you have to unfreeze whichever vendor that financing will use, then you re-freeze it, which might cost again.