Published By Janet Gershen-Siegel at October 17th, 2017
Just when everyone seems to have moved onto the next crisis, Equifax’s data breach problems again rear their ugly head. This issue is not going away any time soon. And, again, the people who suffer are the consumers.
On October 12, 2017, ArsTechnica reported that there were redirects on the site, which led to spammy sites (e. g. “You just won an iPhone!”) or to a download of Adobe which was anything but. Instead, the downloads were malicious and were detected as being malware by Symantec (they are the Norton people), Panda, and Webroot. Malwarebytes, Avira, and Eset also showed red flags, although for a different stage in the process.
After the recent debacle with the massive July 2017 data breach which was not reported until September, consumers should be cautious about their information online and their credit reports in particular. And not just with Equifax! Dun & Bradstreet, Experian, and TransUnion could potentially have future issues.
Recently, I provided instructions for how to set up a credit freeze due to the breach. Here are some additional steps you can take to protect yourself and your credit.
Just like any other calculation, sometimes your credit score is just plain incorrect, and that could be a more frequent occurrence in the face of the breach and subsequent problems with Equifax. Hence you need to stay on top of your credit score, and check what’s going into it. If any charges are listed incorrectly (often as unpaid or as delinquent), then you can dispute these issues with the applicable credit reporting agency. Disputes have to be in writing and they should be specific as to which charge you are calling into question. You will need documentation as well, so enclose a copy of any sort of proof of payment, such as a receipt or a cancelled check. Retain the originals and only send copies.
For personal credit, you can get free reports with Annual Credit Report.com. This site covers your personal Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax reports.
If you need to dispute your personal Equifax report, go here.
Order your company’s Experian report here. You can dispute errors on your or your company’s Experian report by following the directions here. For disputing your personal credit report from Experian, go here.
You can get your business’s PAYDEX report here and you can contact their Customer Service department (it’s a part of Dun & Bradstreet, as they also generate PAYDEX reports) here. D & B’s PAYDEX Customer Service phone number is here.
They took the page down as soon as possible, according to the BBC. Such a rapid respond contrasts with the delays which accompanied the July breach.
Without a crystal ball, there are no guarantees that any of my concerns will ever come to fruition. However, we do know that the CEO and two other top executives (the head of security and the Chief Information Officer) all retired, thereby deploying their golden parachutes.
The United States is already investigating, as is the Attorney General of Massachusetts, Maura Healey. In Georgia, a class action lawsuit has started – you don’t need to do anything in order to be considered a part of the class. In fact, there’s more than one class action suit floating around – the courts will, at some point, look to consolidate them all.
And that isn’t even getting into the possibility of an insider trading case. I hope Equifax’s upper management enjoy hot water, because they’re soaking in it.
As the Equifax data breach problems continue, I will continue to cover the matter. The New York Times is also following this story. It is far from over.