Adulting with Erin: What the heck is an Equi-hack?

By Erin Bothwell | September 25, 2017 3:08pm
by Brennan Robinson / The Beacon

As you’ve probably already heard, Equifax, a consumer credit reporting agency, has had a series of security incidents that gave away personal information of many consumers. Information like social security numbers, addresses and even credit card information. You know, the stuff you might not even have memorized because it’s that sensitive. You can check if you were impacted by the data breach here

If you only speak in Harry Potter metaphors, let me put it this way: Gringotts (Equifax) was broken into by some weirdo wizardry and unlocked some of our private information vaults. (Don’t jump down my throat about this comparison. It’s not exact because the wizarding world doesn’t run on credit.) Some vaults are just hanging open, waiting for someone to stop in and grab invaluable information/ruin credit. Other vaults are, like, totally fine. We don’t really know how this happened because obviously Gringotts is supposed to be invincible, but nonetheless it was broken into. 

Equifax/non-magical Gringotts has this information because it is a “global technology solutions company” (whatever that means). One of the things Equifax does is analyze data and tell you your credit score. 

If you were impacted by the breach (my condolences), freeze your credit ASAP. Freezing your credit means you can keep your credit score as is and hackers can’t do nuthin’ about it. Doing a freeze is not always free, but in most cases it should be right now given the circumstances. 

Even if you were NOT impacted by the breach, Equifax is giving out free membership to its TrustedID Premier service which includes a one-million dollar identity theft insurance. Keep in mind the Washington Post has reported some people are having trouble signing up for the TrustedID Premier credit monitoring service

Reading about the security breaches, you may be enraged. You’re entitled to this rage. It isn’t fair that your personal security is at risk when you didn’t do anything wrong. But before you shred your credit card and start burying your money at random locations like Ron Swanson, remember you do need a credit card

I don’t know if this will make you feel any better, but other large companies (Target, T.J. Maxx) have experienced security breaches too. It’s not just Equifax. So the breaches are less of a credit-cards-aren’t-safe thing and more of a holy-cow-the-internet-hacks-are-real thing. 

If you’re still Hulk-level angry, you could seek legal action. Lawyering up requires money and time. If you have both of these things, kudos to you, but the rest of us will have to stew and wait to see if Congress does anything to prevent future security breaches — specifically in its Oct. 4 meeting with the CEO of Equifax.