How Should I Respond to the Equifax Credit
Bureau's Database Breach?
Update 9/28/2017: Equifax's new CEO says that they will
offer consumers "the
ability to lock and unlock their credit for free" in about 4
months. That new service might be as good as a credit
freeze, but I still recommend investing a few bucks in a credit freeze
that secures your credit information now. See Best
You might think that consumers would be able to control who can collect,
store, and share our personal information. But the default business
model of U.S. credit bureaus is the opposite--they collect, store, and
share your personal information without your permission. Equifax
irresponsibly exposed your name, address, social security number, and
driver license number to bad guys, but don't panic. You don't need
to do anything about this specific breach, but it's a reminder to use best
If you are satisfied with the credit and loans that you already have,
new credit grantors rarely need access to your credit information.
You should allow credit grantors access on an exception basis. Do
this with a credit
- Monitor your credit card and bank account activity regularly.
- Use two-factor authentication
for online acccounts.
- If you frequently request new credit and loans, new credit grantors
need frequent access to your credit information. By leaving access
to your credit information open to them, you incur more risk that
someone like Experian will inadvertently expose your information.
You need to be more vigilant.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Should I use Equifax's
website to verify whether my personal information was stolen?
Don't bother. Regardless of whether your information was exposed,
use the above best practices. The answer
they provide is unreliable anyway.
- Should I subscribe to Equifax's Trusted ID Premier credit
monitoring service? No--it's a public relations ploy to make
you feel better about their irresponsible behavior. Credit
monitoring services have limited value, and this one is only free for
the first year.