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Attorneys general cite concerns after massive Equifax breach

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OKLAHOMA CITY – Several attorneys general across the country are sending a letter to a credit reporting agency after a massive security breach.

Last week, Equifax said that a security breach released information of approximately 143 million customers including names, birth dates, Social Security numbers, addresses and possibly even driver’s license numbers.

Equifax said it discovered the breach on July 29, and believe the unauthorized access occurred from mid-May through July.

On Friday, Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter signed a letter with 34 other attorneys general, citing several concerns with the breach.

In the letter, the group asked Equifax to not use the breach as an opportunity to profit off victims.

“We are deeply concerned for families and residents across the United States,” Attorney General Hunter said. “The letter’s recommendations are what the attorneys general and I believe will ensure citizens will be treated fairly and give them more clarity as they navigate this dilemma. Consumers were left exposed by the breach and are at no fault whatsoever. More needs to be done to assist the victims.”

Concerns listed in the letter are as follows:

  • Equifax continues to promote its fee-based monitoring system
  • Consumers paying fees for a security freeze
  • Long wait times or the inability to speak with someone at the call center.

Although Equifax is offering a free credit monitoring system after the breach, a main concern is the company is still selling a fee-based monitoring program.

“We object to Equifax seemingly using its own data breach as an opportunity to sell services to breach victims. 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. Equifax cannot reap benefits from confused consumers who are likely only visiting Equifax’s homepage because they are concerned about whether the breach affects them and their families,” the letter read.

The attorneys general suggested the Equifax upgrade its free service to provide equivalent protection as its fee-based services.

The letter also states that although Equifax isn’t charging consumers for a security freeze, consumers are still being forced to pay for freezes with other companies.

“We agree with these consumers that it is indefensible that they be forced to pay fees to fully protect themselves from the fallout of Equifax’s data breach. Accordingly, we believe Equifax should be taking steps to reimburse consumers who incur fees to completely freeze their credit,” the letter reads.