FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 18, 2017
Contact: James Hallinan (505) 660-2216
Albuquerque, NM – Today, Attorney General Hector Balderas announced he has written credit reporting firm Equifax to protest the firm’s policy of charging for some credit monitoring services after a security breach caused by the firm’s own mistakes. Joining with attorneys general from around the country in a letter to Equifax, the New Mexico Attorney General protested that charging for credit monitoring after the breach affecting 143 million people could be seen as profiting from the firm’s own mistakes.
Attorney General Balderas is investigating the breach and is also joining other state attorneys general in an investigation, which was launched as soon as Equifax publicly disclosed the breach last week. Equifax is offering free credit monitoring services in response to the breach, but the attorneys general, in a letter sent Friday, objected to Equifax “seemingly using its own data breach as an opportunity to sell services to breach victims,” they wrote in the letter.
“Equifax needs to make right by our families, not try to profit off of their own security breach and New Mexicans’ financial peril,” said Attorney General Balderas. “We launched an immediate investigation into Equifax, the circumstances surrounding the breach, and the delay in disclosure to New Mexicans. Our office is working to hold Equifax accountable and I encourage New Mexicans to visit our website to learn how to protect themselves.”
To find out more about the Equifax data breach and how to protect yourself, visit our tips sheet at http://www.nmag.gov/uploads/files/Consumer/EquifaxDataBreachConsumerInformation.pdf.
“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 in their letter to Equifax. “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.”
The attorneys general also said that, although Equifax has agreed to waive credit freeze fees for those who would otherwise be subject to them – which includes New Mexico residents – the other two credit bureaus, Experian and Transunion, continue to charge fees for security freezes.
The attorneys general said that Equifax should be taking steps to reimburse consumers who incur these fees to completely freeze their credit.
Attorney General Balderas and other attorneys general have also been in communication with Equifax expressing concerns about terms of service relative to the free credit monitoring services and the prominence of service enrollment information on Equifax’s web page. Equifax has been responsive to these concerns.
Please click here to view the letter
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