Free credit freezes from Equifax

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Many people have had very sensitive personal information exposed in the Equifax breach — Social Security numbers, account numbers, even drivers’ license numbers. Equifax is offering free credit freezes until January 31, 2018. The company also will refund fees to anyone who already paid for freezes since September 7, 2017, when it announced the breach. If you’re thinking of placing a freeze, read this first.

A freeze means that no one (including you) can access your credit file until you unfreeze it, using a PIN or passphrase. That makes it harder for identity thieves to open new accounts in your name.

To be effective, you must place a freeze with all three credit reporting agencies — Equifax, Transunion and Experian. That’s because when a thief tries to take out new credit, a business can pull your credit report from any of the three agencies. If you’ve only frozen your Equifax file and the business checks with Experian or Transunion, your Equifax freeze does you no good.

There’s also cost to consider. A freeze can cost you money every time you freeze and unfreeze your file. While Equifax will let you place or lift a freeze for free until January 31, 2018, TransUnion and Experian are not offering free freezes. And, as of now, Equifax’s offer will end on January 31. That means that any time you need to get new credit, you’ll need to lift the freeze, then place it again, with each of the three agencies — at a cost of $5 to $10 per agency each time, depending on your state’s law.

But wait, you say, I heard that freezes are free for identity theft victims. So, will I get free freezes from the other two agencies too? No. An identity theft victim is someone whose information not only has been exposed, but also has been misused. If you’re a data breach victim, your information is at greater risk of misuse but unless that happens, you’re not an identity theft victim and not entitled to free freezes on that basis.

To learn more about credit freezes, read Credit Freeze FAQs and Extended Fraud Alerts and Credit Freezes. If you want a free credit freeze from Equifax you can call them at 800-349-9960 or visit them online at freeze.equifax.com.

If you’re looking for an alternative to a credit freeze, consider a fraud alert. Although a fraud alert won’t lock your credit like a freeze does, it will tell anyone who runs your credit that they should check with you before opening a new account. Fraud alerts are free but they end after 90 days, unless you remember to renew them. You may also want to sign up for Equifax’s free credit monitoring, which lets you know about changes to your credit file. But remember that the free credit monitoring doesn’t stop someone from opening accounts in your name. Also, it lasts only one year and the threat of identity theft relating to the breach is likely to last a lot longer than that.

Note: This post was updated on October 5, 2017 to reflect that Equifax extended the enrollment period for free credit freezes from November 21, 2017 to January 31, 2018.

 

Comments

Should be covered for at least a year..

Credit freeze is my way of a=saying warning to new credit applications. Seems I should be REWARDED RATHER THAN DINGED!!

The Government should put this company out of business!

It was the Government that lost 21.5 M files in the OPM data breach. Current administration is against any new restricting regulations so rest assured that no action will be taken even though your data is lost for life. Data encryption cost extra money, so few companies or organizations practice it. Willing to bet that TransUnion and Experian also do not encrypt their databases.

What good is having a short term Credit Freeze or Fraud Alert or free credit monitoring, for a data breech that is going to affect anyone who data was lost for years to come? And why should we just anything that Experian touches since the data breech was due to their negligence?

I agree and if a credit freeze needs to include the other two companies at a cost it should be at Equifax's cost note the consumer's.
Also I have been unable to use Equifax web site.

Paying for credit freezes? And that's the only way to "stop" anyone from seeing my credit report? That's not right. It is my information and I should be able to freeze and unfreeze as needed for free.

I totally agree, but the three credit bureaus are private companies. Why are three private companies in this position of control over something as important as your credit when they can obviously be hacked? Makes one question one of the fundamental aspects of how money and our economy works doesn't it? Just because it's worked before, it does not mean it will continue to do so as intended in the 21st century and beyond. I hope someone smarter than me is asking these questions and trying to find out what needs to be done.

And (despite Equifax' stupidity at not locking their computers) would you REALLY prefer that the Federal Government hold and secure your sensitive data???

You're joking, right, Warden? The Federal Government has been holding Social Security numbers and tax information securely for DECADES. So yes, of course I'd prefer that they continue to do so.

You really think the government has been securely holding our information? Bwahahahaha

IRS has been doing a better job than Equifax or Visa.

The government lost millions of individuals IDs and information of service members which included every thing even blood type. This was not well broadcasted and only those of us effected were notified. No one is safe from fraud. No new credit should be given by any one unless they contact the name on the credit bureau files first. That person should be the only one who agrees to a new credit card or account. Why are we held responsible for fraud when we were not the ones who okayed the account?? Speak to your congressman today about this BS.

The politicians in DC took millions of dollars (bribes)the from these companies. And all the asked in return was protection to keep us from suing them for there incompetence. If they were held accountable for this crime you can bet they would be moor careful. And now I have to pay them to protect me from THEM!

yup, we gotta pay. that's because we ARE NOT THE CUSTOMER - we're the PRODUCT. the banks (the customers) need our credit info to sell us the goods.

Agree!

I find it interesting that the CEOs' resigned from both Equifax and Experian just prior to the release of this information. I trust the government is looking into their responsibility into all of this corruption.

I heard they also sold company stock before announcing the breach.

1.5 million dollars worth, just before the credit breach was announced. They were quoted as saying, "It was a coincidence." I believe them, don't you

First, you get a link to check if your data was affected. They say "yes" (of course?)... so, go and buy a security service. Then, a freeze on Equifax is for free-- but you have to freeze your data on Experian and Transunion as well, for a freeze to be effective. They do charge. Are the three agencies making money with us, the victims?

Just an FYI, the charge to freeze and unfreeze is dependent on which state you live in.

Oooh, I'll bet there's a line out the door for that Equifax credit monitoring service...with their proven track record, that's bound to be quite the valuable service. (/sarc)

I froze all three of my reports and my husband's, too, yesterday. Last night, Chase Fraud Alert informed me of strange charges on one of my credit cards: 15 charges, all for either $15 or $25, to "steamgames.com". Stay vigilant, folks.

At least you got a fraud alert response. I signed up over 5 days ago.....was informed I'd hear from trustid in a few hours to confirm information ....and nada thing. When I called the call center....was told they're behind sending confirming emails.....trust us. The year service already begun. What a joke and what a breach of trust!, FTC/AGs, are you reading this?

I received a response from "trusted ID' about a week after sign up. But....discovered that I was supposed to use separate email addresses for me & my husband. As I didn't he now has a "TrustedID" account, but I don't, despite the fact that I went into my husband's account and changed out my email address for his. I am currently waiting for them as they "work diligently.. to process my inquiry.? Eight days later, still no remedy

Do we need to be concerned with Innovis which is, I believe, another credit reporting agency?

I have been paying for heightened credit alerts-they're showing up on our Am Ex-through Equifax. I also have some scammer who downloaded keylogging malware onto all my devices; My MacBook Air,my iphone6s, my prepaid Verizon phone, and now this borrowed Chromebook :( I cannot get these people away from me. I've sent quite a few iC3.gov forms and these people are able to get into my email and change things around, including stealing emails.

Sounds like someone on the inside--maybe a family member or someone with access to all devices--unless you are sharing the same corrupted file or accessing the same irreputable website across all devices.

None of these actions seems very effective or convenient for the innocent consumer. How about this instead: no transactions using your social security number should be allowed by anyone unless they have your current password (chosen by you) which you are free to change anytime you feel the need. We can do this with any other online account, why can't we make this simple change to our soc sec #????? Wouldn't take a brain surgeon to add this to the gov't system.

These thugs can and did hacked the DNC's and HRC's
Emails, look inside their computers contents, do I think they can hack mine?
I was thinking - who am I for those hackers?
But lo & behold beginning of July they did and took $$$ from my skimpy balance and messed up my access to my credit union acct!

FOR UNKNOWN REASON WALMART CREDIT CARD WAS DENIED BY SYNCRONY BANK.

Well, I just tried to freeze my credit and this is what I got:

System Currently Unavailable - Error 500

We're sorry. We cannot process your security freeze request online at this time. Please try back later.

To make a security freeze request with the other national consumer credit reporting agencies, please contact Experian and TransUnion: Experian,P.O Box 9554, Allen, TX 75013 (888)397-3742 TransUnion, www. transunion. com ,P.O. Box 2000, Chester, PA 19016 (888)909-8872

Thank you for giving Equifax the opportunity to assist you. Equifax Information Services, LLC Now what?

FYI, It may be because of your browser. I received the exact same error but when I switched to Chrome I had no problems at all freezing my account.

I use Chrome and got the same Error 500 after entering personal info and clicked submit. If it works, what should come up after clicking submit? Thank you.

Just wait: your credit will be frozen, but you won't have received the PIN you need to UNfreeze it. This is what happened to me.

Bona fide again Thanks

Great information, thank you!

Shouldn't they make it free since BEFORE they announced it? They reported it like 2 or 3 months after it actually happened.. which is why they are getting sued!

this is a good idea i had my info stolen years ago by an ex employee

Why would I even consider any help suggested by Equifax. I would be leery of even going on their website. It has been suggested the hackers will not use the info immediately, maybe yes maybe no, but a freeze just till Nov may not matter one way or the other. And trying to find out if your info was compromised there is no way to find out for sure, since they really have no idea how many accounts are in jeopardy. Funny thing, CEO says when he dumped his stock, he knew nothing about the cyber security breach. Yeah and I am really the Queen of England.

The credit freeze is FREE until november 21. It doesn't get lifted from your credit file on that day.

November is the "deadline" to sign up for 1 free year of Equifax monitoring.

Can't the thief that has your personal info request a credit freeze before you do and freeze you out of your own account and take over? So, it seems that we have no choice but to place a credit freeze before they pirate it.

It happened to my son

Fixing this serious data breach sounds ready-made for an effective Consumer Financial Protection Board!!
Do we have one still?

A related FTC article by your Seena Gressin states that the Equifax site "will tell you if you've been affected by the breach". This is incorrect. It only says that you may have been affected by the breach and then proceeds to offer you their credit monitoring scheme. So ... I still don't know if I definitely was affected by the breach and must assume the worst.

Equifax is so hard to deal with. Been disputing some unauthorized inquries on my CR with no luck. I think they should pay for all freezes feom all 3 CB's

That was my thinking also. Why should we have to spend a dime on anything pertaining to Equifax. All of the things I do to protect my Identity & Privacy. The time spent shredding & the money spent on anti-virus. All for nothing, because these nitwits came along, gathered not only my info but millions of others info, and what, got lazy with their security. No one should have to pay for nothing. From the rumors going around I heard it was something like using "Admin", which is a default password, and they never bothered changing it to their own password. I can't believe this has happened. Totally unacceptable.

The online or the call option to freeze your account is not working. Online gave an error and the phone said unable to process request. Now what?

Exactly. I was hoping that the FTC could offer a solution to this problem. I am NOT sending all my sensitive info by mail at this point, and I don't know what to do. I was able to place a security freeze with Experian and TransUnion easily (for $10 each) but have been trying for a WEEK with Equifax.

Is every person who applied for a credit card in the last 2 months effected by this breach? Is this something everyone who ever took out a loan, applied for a credit card...needs to worry about? Thanks for any insights.

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