Ahead of three changes to what Equifax is offering consumers following its breach of 145 million consumer records, CALPIRG is urging Californians to get free credit freezes with Equifax by January 31st if they haven’t already.
“Getting credit freezes at all three national credit bureaus is the best action consumers can take after the Equifax breach, whether they were affected by it or not,” said CALPIRG Executive Director Emily Rusch. “Even though you’ll outrageously still have to pay fees at Experian and TransUnion, you should get the free freeze with Equifax while you still can.”
On January 31st, Equifax is making the following changes to their consumer offers:
1) Free TrustedID Premier offer expires: January 31st is the last day to sign up for TrustedID Premier, Equifax’s initial offer after the breach. It provides one year of free services such as credit monitoring. It doesn’t hurt to sign up for these services. However, you should know they are limited and, at best, only alert you to identity theft after it has occurred. Therefore, we also recommend you freeze your credit reports with all three national credit bureaus.
2) Free Equifax credit freeze offer expires: January 31st is also the last day Equifax will waive the fee it normally charges consumers to get credit freezes on their Equifax credit reports. We recommend that you take advantage of this option. The page for getting it is available at www.freeze.equifax.com.
“Blocking access to your credit report with one bureau but not the other two is like locking your front door but leaving your garage and back doors wide open,” said Rusch. “That’s why CALPIRG is working with Senator Jerry Hill and other supportive lawmakers to make credit freezes free and easy to use at all three national credit bureaus. We didn’t hire Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion to collect financial data about us, and we certainly didn’t give them permission to lose it. So shouldn’t we have a right by law to keep our financial information private and secure for free?”
Earlier this month, State Senator Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) introduced consumer protection legislation to make it free for all Californians to place a security freeze on their financial and personal data with the nation’s credit reporting agencies. The bill would also make the freeze more consumer-friendly by allowing consumers to place or lift a freeze at all three agencies via one request. The co-authors of Senate Bill 823 include Senators Cathleen Galgiani, D- Stockton, and Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont, and Assemblymembers Kevin Kiley, R-Granite Bay, Monique Limón, D-Santa Barbara, Evan Low, D-Silicon Valley, and Mark Stone, D-Monterey Bay.
“Californians should not be forced to pay for protecting their credit from the alarming data breaches of personal information that have become all too common,” said Senator Hill, D-San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties. “Credit agencies are involved in so many aspects of our lives, from major purchases such as buying a home or car, to everyday transactions like signing a new cell phone contract. These agencies possess our most sensitive information, and they shouldn’t profit from consumers’ efforts to protect themselves.”