Equifax: the Road to Recovery
As I’m sure most of us remember, a little over a month ago national credit reporting company Equifax released that they had been hacked. As a result of the hack as many as 145 million people have been affected by the security breach (including myself). In our previous article about the Equifax hack, we inserted a link that brought you to a page walking you through the steps you needed to take to find out if you were affected. On the page it mentions that regardless if you had been affected or not Equifax was planning on sending you the option to enroll in free, yearlong subscription to TrustedID Premier. Equifax has now sent this out to their customers, and it is a PROCESS to say the least. Since the offer is available until January 31st, I’m sure many people who plan on signing up have not gotten around to doing so. I am went through the whole process myself, and decided to share what I’ve done, in case any of you are having a difficult time with it or curious as to what the process entails.
To begin, you need to head to the enroll tab on the Equifax website and click “begin enrollment.” You will be asked for your last name and the last 6 digits of your social security number, and then taken to a secondary page to fill out some personal information. This personal information includes:
- Full name
- Preferred email
- Preferred phone number
- Date of birth
- Social security number
I found it interesting that the social security number was not masked while typing it in. It’d be assumed that after such a massive security breach Equifax would be doing everything in their power to protect their clients’ information, yet they didn’t mask out social security numbers while we input it for our compensation from the hack. Maybe they are focusing on bigger issues? Regardless, make sure that you are putting your information in on a secure connection and of course not on a public or shared computer. After you fill in everything and submit it, Equifax will inform you that they are processing your information and it will take up to 48 hours before you can fully activate your account. When this period passes, you are given access to almost all the features that are offered. This includes credit monitoring alerts, social security monitoring, identity theft protection, and your Equifax credit report. However, you must wait another 48 hours before the credit locking feature is available (This feature takes another 48 hours to process your credit lock request, so it’ll take four days total to actually lock your credit.
Reviews for TrustedID Premier have not been great. The TrustedID Premier site is constantly crashing, and people have reported the customer service holding lines as unbearably long (when I went on to the Equifax website earlier the customer service section of their website had crashed.) It can be frustrating for some people that it takes 3 different 48 hour waiting periods to lock your credit. While some of this waiting period is necessary, it should be a priority to allow customers to do this considering countless people have had their information stolen and would like to use this feature as soon as they can. People have also been reporting that they are receiving alerts that they are unable to verify.
I find the access to locking my credit logical. I should’ve availed myself of this sooner, as I don’t have a lot of needs for access to credit that I can’t plan enough time ahead for, so it makes a lot of sense and I enjoy having this sort of control over my credit access. Why do I need it wide-open for willy-nilly access for little inquiries that I am not asking for or expecting? If I am in the process of needing to access my credit, like buying a new house, the bank can simply let me know the timing and I can make sure it is unlocked.
Of course, this is where we open the conversation of a new way to ID the country (look for this blog to come), instead of this 80 year-old ID system meant originally for only one thing. Social Security.
The way Equifax has handled this already horrible situation has been very frustrating. From the former CEO pointing the finger at a worker, to Equifax compensating their employees by pushing another of their products on to us that isn’t working well, Equifax continues to damage their brand image. Hopefully other brands are learning from the mistakes Equifax makes, for many doubt this will be the last cybersecurity debacle we see.