b&b 212: Equifax Equi-f*ckery Continues – What You Can Get Out of the Settlement
In this episode we discuss the Equifax breach, the settlement, and what you can get out of it. Pamela and Dyalekt discuss the pros and cons of choosing the cash settlement versus the credit monitoring option.
Music Featured In This Episode:
Equifax by Pounds
Minimum Rage by Gone Ghastly
My Generation by Broken
Pamela: Think about how many things your credit score affects and how many things it allows or does not allow you to do. Why is this something that is governed or monitored by a private company that is able to make a profit versus something that the government monitors and regulate?
Dyalekt: This breach is simply a chicken coming home to roost situation. It has been a situation where people aren’t protected, and this is like a worst-case scenario. (Equifax’s) whole entire job is to keep track of records and keep it safe and private.
Pamela: The official website for the Equifax breach is equifaxbreachsettlement.com. Make sure you don’t type it in incorrectly. Typo squatting relies on people mistyping the URL and then getting them to click on ads or put their information into a fraudulent website, etc. You can go to the FTC website, FTC.gov/Equifax, for updated information from the FTC on what’s available.
Pamela: What you can opt for instead (of cash option) is free credit monitoring for all three bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and Transunion for 4 years plus up to $1 million dollars in identity theft insurance, which is actually quite valuable because identity theft insurance will make you whole if you experience identity theft and your bank or credit card company doesn’t make you whole.
Pamela: You have until January 2020 to file to be a part of this settlement. If you choose not to be part of this settlement, then all Americans next year will be entitled to 6 free Equifax reports every year for 7 years. All Americans will also get free identity theft recovery services for the next year. You will also be able to call a call center run by Equifax to help you file police reports, freeze your credit reports, help you put up fraud alerts, help you do all the things you need to do and recover any identity theft situation that you were in for the next seven years.
Dyalekt: Is there any good reason why my credit report is less accessible than my social media profile? Why can’t I just have it on my dashboard every day and then in real time when stuff happens it will show me whatever is happening?
Pamela: This is the scary thing about when these kinds of companies are privatized. This is information that is your information, that should be public to you, but the only way that you can get all of your credit reports now is to go on annualcreditreport.com. It is the only website that you can get all three credit reports for free and you are only able to get them once a year.
Dyalekt: This is showing us the real-life consequence of what WE have to face for this system being a mess, being incongruous, and being something that is not made for the people when it is ostensibly made FOR the people. This is the thing that judges our trustworthiness. This is something that has so much to do with who we are as human beings in this country, and they just get to do whatever they want?
Pamela: What happens when you freeze your credit report is that no one can open credit under your name, your social security number. And the credit bureau has to call you if someone tries. A lot of states require you to pay a fee to freeze your credit report, and you have to pay a fee to freeze your credit report for all three credit bureaus. New York state is one of the states that doesn’t allow the credit bureaus to charge you, but many other states do.
Pamela: Part of the settlement is that you’re going to get cash payment for time spent and also be reimbursed for any actual losses and any expenses that you have incurred trying to freeze your report, get credit monitoring services or trying to undo any identity theft in general that has happened. It is worth filing if in the last couple years, you were a victim of identity theft. You have until January 2020 to file for this. They also have an extended period until January 2024 in case something does happen between now and 2024.
Pamela: I really want you to go to FTC.gov/Equifax just to make sure you are getting all of the current information. It will take you directly to the Equifax breach settlement website. We want to encourage you to get the credit monitoring service. It is a valuable service, in particular, the identity theft insurance is valuable. If something were to happen to you, they will cover your losses.
Dyalekt: Most importantly about this is, don’t be too tired for it. It’s unfair, but they don’t get tired. They’re gonna keep shambling on. We owe it to ourselves, take care of ourselves, and make sure we don’t get tired and let ourselves get worn out by this. As unfair and as sad as it seems, you need to fight.
Pamela: If you want to get the most out of this, get the credit monitoring service or switch to the credit monitoring service if you originally applied for the cash settlement. This credit monitoring service that they are offering is pretty robust so you could probably cancel what you are paying for now, so that is something to think about. Really opt into all of this stuff, because that is how we fight.