Why Equifax’s Free Lifetime Credit Lock is Not Nearly Enough
San Francisco Chronicle
By Kathleen Pender
The grilling of former Equifax CEO Richard Smith on Capitol Hill last week revealed how little the company has done to protect or compensate the 145.5 million consumers whose personal information was stolen through a gaping hole in its “dispute portal.”
Smith conveniently “retired” on Sept. 26, then went on to represent the Atlanta company in hearings before three congressional committees last week.
Given the scope of the breach, several committee members asked whether consumers should be able to delete their information from credit bureaus entirely, or at least have it “locked down” by default. Today, consumers who want to freeze access to their credit files must contact each of the three major credit bureaus separately, and usually pay one fee for freezing and another for thawing their reports.
Smith repeatedly told committee members that stronger protections are unnecessary because Equifax is offering “five free services” for one year and by Jan. 31 will begin offering a free lifetime “lock.”
Those protections are woefully inadequate.