In light of the recently announced Equifax data breach, the Identity Theft Resource Center is making an understandable, timely request of all three credit reporting agencies: help consumers protect their information and their credit reports with a free one-year freeze.
There is little doubt that the aftermath of identity theft is nightmarish in proportion, and with more than 143 million consumers facing the potential for these kinds of crimes as a result of the recent data breach, it’s time for Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian to support consumers with an optional free credit freeze. The cost might seem minimal in the long run—which typically runs about $10 per agency—but it is yet another layer of frustration and expense to consumers who placed their trust in Equifax.
According to Eva Velasquez, CEO and president of the ITRC, “Right now, the industry has the opportunity to step up and help Americans protect themselves from the loss and theft of personal information. Currently, victims of identity theft have the fees for credit freezes waived. But what about other consumers who want to proactively protect their identity, especially in cases where they have become victims of data breaches? Everyone should be able to take this proactive step, no matter their level of income.”
The only way for consumers to currently receive a no-cost freeze on their credit reports is to already be the victim of identity theft or to live in a state that requires it. This peace of mind should be available for all consumers, and not just from an agency that has already compromised consumer information, but from all three major agencies. With the record-setting numbers of data breaches each year and the increasing demand for costly, real-time credit monitoring, this step would be an affordable option that can not only help individuals stay on top of their identifying information, but can also help reduce the workload and financial fallout to consumers and businesses alike.
The ITRC has launched its Free From All 3 campaign, including a petition on Change.org, to help the credit reporting agencies understand the seriousness of data breaches and the effect that identity theft has on consumers. We’re calling on all stakeholders to take part in this campaign, from individual consumers to financial institutions to policymakers, in order to enact positive change within the industry.
Please sign and share our petition now: https://www.change.org/p/ask-the-ceos-of-equifax-experian-and-transunion-for-credit-freezes-to-be-freefromall3
Contact the Identity Theft Resource Center for toll-free, no-cost assistance at (888) 400-5530. For on-the-go assistance, check out the free ID Theft Help App from ITRC.