Attorney General Jim Hood on Friday joined 31 attorneys general in requesting credit reporting firm Equifax disable links for enrollment in fee-based credit monitoring services in the wake of the firm’s massive data breach impacting 143 million people.
Mississippi is part of a multistate investigation into Equifax, which was launched when Equifax publicly disclosed the breach last week.
“We believe continuing to offer consumers a fee-based service in addition to Equifax’s free monitoring services will serve to only confuse consumers who are already struggling to make decisions on how to best protect themselves in the wake of this massive breach,” the attorneys general wrote. “Selling a fee-based product that competes with Equifax’s own free offer of credit monitoring services to victims of Equifax’s own data breach is unfair, particularly if consumers are not sure if their information was compromised.”
Equifax has agreed to waive credit freeze fees for those who would otherwise be subject to them, but Experian and Transunion credit bureaus continue to charge fees for security freezes. The attorneys general said Equifax should be taking steps to reimburse consumers who are charged fees to completely freeze their credit.
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Consumers can go online to see if their data was comprised.
General Hood urges consumers to:
▪ Be diligent by watching their bank accounts and credit card statements.
▪ Continue to monitor your accounts
▪ Report any suspicious activity to your bank or credit card company right away. Any delay could make it harder to get that money back.
▪ Check credit report periodically and be sure to dispute any information that is not accurate.
▪ Put a credit freeze on your credit report. This makes it much more difficult for criminals to open false accounts in your name. However, the lead time needed to unfreeze it may be significant.
▪ Consider two-factor authentication when using financial services online. For most two-factor authentication, also known as two-step verification, users receive a security code via their phone or mobile device that must be entered in addition to a password.
▪ Avoid unsolicited emails that seek even more personal information or financial data. Following a large-scale data breach, scammers may attempt to steal a consumer’s identity or access bank accounts by sending out fake notices.
Details: AGJimHood.com or 800-281-4418.