MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - After 143 million people were impacted in an Equifax data breach, Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood is taking action.
On Friday, Hood joined 31 attorney generals in requesting that the credit reporting firm disable links for enrollment in fee-based credit monitoring services.
Following the breach, Mississippi because part of a multi-state investigation into Equifax. The letter from the group of attorneys objects to the "inclusion of terms of service that required consumers to waive their rights, the offer of competing fee-based and free credit monitoring services by Equifax, and Equifax's charge for a security freeze with other credit monitoring companies like Experian, TransUnion, and Innovis."
"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. "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."
While Equifax has agreed to waive credit freeze fees to those who would normally incur the cost, Experian and Transunion both continue to charge for the service.
The 31 attorneys have also requested information about what led to the data breach, why the was a delay in disclosure, and how the company plans to protected affected customers.
"It's important to not just watch your accounts now, while this breach is in the news, but to continue to monitor them months from now for potential impact down the road," said General Hood. "We cannot assume things are safe anymore. We must do our part as consumers to be sure our personal information is secure."
General Hood urges consumers to:
• Report any suspicious activity to your bank or credit card company right away. Any delay in reporting the fraudulent activity could make it harder for you to get that money back.
• Check your credit report periodically and be sure to dispute any information that is not accurate.
• Put a credit freeze on your credit report. A credit freeze restricts access to your credit report, which makes it much more difficult for criminals to open false accounts in your name. However, placing such a freeze should be considered carefully since the lead time needed to unfreeze it may be significant.
• Consider two-factor authentication when using financial services online. For most two-factor authentication, also known as two-step verification, users receive a security code via their phone or mobile device that must be entered in addition to a password.
• Avoid unsolicited emails that seek even more personal information or financial data. Following a large-scale data breach, scammers may attempt to steal a consumer's identity or access bank accounts by sending out fake notices.
To see if your data was comprised, visit this secure link: https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/potential-impact/.