Monday, September 18, 2017

Equifax Data Breach Update From Senator Gene Yaw - A Must Read!

On September 8th, Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s Bureau of Consumer Protection opened an investigation into a massive data breach involving Equifax, a national credit-reporting agency, which impacted up to 143 million consumers nationwide.

This investigation is reviewing Equifax’s report that cyber criminals gained access to consumers’ names, Social Security numbers, birthdates, addresses and, in some cases, driver’s license information. Their report also indicated that credit card numbers for about 209,000 consumers and documents containing personal information related to credit reporting disputes for about 182,000 people were compromised.  Equifax said the breach occurred sometime between mid-May and July. The company said it discovered the hack on July 29. It is unclear at this time how many Pennsylvania consumers have been impacted.

My office has discussed the issue with our Senate Consumer Protection Committee who has oversight and may consider legislation, HB 1094, in the near future that will permit consumers to place a permanent freeze on their credit report. This bill was previously introduced as HB 1184 (2015-2016).  Additionally, I will be signing on to a letter urging our Consumer Protection Committee to amend the legislation to remove the $10 fee charged to consumers who would like to place a freeze on their credit reports.  Current law allows the three credit monitoring agencies to charge consumers a fee (up to $10) in Pennsylvania.  These fees could cost consumers $60 if they want their information frozen/unfrozen. 

Further, my office has been informed that Senator Ryan Aument, Chairman of the Senate Communications and Technology Committee, has decided to hold a hearing on cyber security issues in the near future.
While these are long-term efforts with no definitive outcomes, in the short-term it’s important for individuals to sign up for credit file monitoring and identity theft protection. Equifax is providing free service for one year through TrustedID Premier. 

 Note from Editor  - Why would you let this company give you one year free credit monitoring subscription (which they will charge you monthly when this subscription runs out) when they could not even take the simplest steps to protect data that I did not authorize them to collect. US and Pa Government, this is a travesty to the Nth degree! They didn't even change the default password on one network and their security officers didn't even have any security experience allegedly! Do not deal with this company! PA should sue them!

At this point in time, it does not appear that the hackers have sold any of the information; however, it is critical for all of us to remain diligent and monitor our reports.

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