A South Sound woman had her personal information compromised during the Equifax data breach. Now she’s learned that her personal information was stolen after she paid Equifax for a credit freeze.
Four months before Equifax told the world that 145-million people had their personal information stolen, Francisca Beaver from Dupont paid Equifax $10 with her credit card to freeze her credit file.
“And I went into freeze it. And by going in and paying to have my, to put the freeze on my credit, my information was stolen,” said Beaver.
Beaver just got a letter from Equifax, saying her credit card number, name address and the expiration date of the card were accessed during the huge breach.
And there is more.
“And in the months between then and now, I had a fraud alert on my credit card and so I had that card canceled,” said Beaver.
Beaver says the very same card used to purchase the credit freeze, was compromised before a breach notification was sent.
Which gets to my point. Why should the hundreds of millions of consumers like Beaver have to pay for any credit freezes, at all, if companies aren’t really held to account for fumbling our personal information?
“That was literally sickening to think that people are now going to protect themselves, they were going to pay these companies money and they were actually going to reap an advantage of having our information accessed and stolen,” said Beaver.
Credit freezes cost $10, per company.
“And I think that, maybe at one point it made sense to have $10 at one time. But it’s not one time, it’s freeze, unfreeze, freeze, unfreeze, anytime you want to buy an expensive sofa or a car or get a new credit card,” said State Representative Zack Hudgins, D-Tukwila.
Rep. Hudgins said he’s already heard from his constituents about their issues with data breaches.
After I chased him down and began bugging him, he wrote a bill that would make all credit freezes free.
“The problem is hitting everybody, everybody should be able to freeze their credit. And they shouldn’t have to pay to protect themselves,” said Rep. Hudgins.
The bill will be introduced to the Washington State Legislature in December.
Until then, I’ll let Beaver come up with what I think is a solution to this mess. “And we have to jump through all the hoops, I want to say, you know what, I’ll give you my Social Security Number and Date of Birth. Why don’t you give me yours?” Beaver continued, “I keep my anti-virus up to date, but trust me with your information.”
I’m taking this message to the legislature. I’m taking it to the streets. I’m taking it to my mamma. Free credit freezes for all should be the law. Corporate America loses our information and we pay. It’s wrong.