Attorney General Andy Beshear today joined with 33 attorneys general to send a letter demanding that Equifax take immediate steps to strengthen customer protections and improve services to the nearly 143 million people impacted by the massive data breach.
“I share Kentuckians frustration surrounding this data breach and that is why I am asking Equifax to move quickly to alleviate unnecessary confusion and improve customer service,” said Beshear. “The victims of a data breach should never have to pay to freeze their credit, nor should they have to face inadvertently signing up for a costly program instead of the free service.”
In the letter, Beshear demands Equifax stop using its own data breach as an opportunity to sell services to victims, and specifically requests the company disable fee-based credit monitoring services and reimburse customers for any fees they have paid to other credit reporting agencies for a credit freeze.
Beshear said in the wake of the data breach, Equifax is asking customers to visit their website where they can enroll in a free credit monitoring service – yet, the website also offers customers a fee-based credit monitoring service, thereby causing confusion and creating the potential for a customer to incur unnecessary fees.
General Beshear has demanded that Equifax resolve this issue by disabling information that leads to the fee-based services until the sign-up period for the free service has ended.
Beshear said Equifax has also agreed to waive credit freeze fees for customers, but the other two credit bureaus, which are not responsible for the breach, Experian and Transunion, continue to charge fees. The attorneys general are asking Equifax to take steps to reimburse consumers who incur these fees as a result of the breach.
The letter also relays consumer complaints expressing difficulty locating the Equifax breach hotline number and long wait times reaching customer service. In response, the AGs ask Equifax to properly staff the hotline and make it available 24 hours a day.
Earlier this week, Beshear issued a Scam Alert to help make Kentuckians aware of the Equifax data breach, and provided instructions on how to sign up for the free credit monitoring service and guidance on how to avoid and respond to identity theft.
Beshear wants Kentuckians to know that his office will continue to monitor the company’s response and asks Kentuckians to take immediate steps to closely monitor their credit and report any suspicious credit activity to his office’s Security Breach hotline, 855-813-6508.