Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III Tuesday expressed in a letter to credit reporting firm Equifax his deep concern that the personal information of over 3 million Tennessee residents has been stolen by unauthorized individuals, leaving consumers vulnerable to identity theft and financial loss. In doing so, he added his voice to those of several other attorneys general who recently wrote to Equifax with similar concerns.
General Slatery encouraged Equifax to “take all possible steps to help consumers access any rehabilitative services easily and efficiently” and advised Equifax of the frustration that many consumers are experiencing when they contact Equifax or visit its website. General Slatery also strongly encouraged Equifax to focus on free credit monitoring as opposed to any fee based credit monitoring so consumers are not confused into thinking they must pay for a service that is being offered for free.
Additionally, while appreciative that Equifax will be reimbursing consumers who paid a fee to freeze their Equifax credit reports as of Sept. 7, the date the breach was announced, General Slatery urged Equifax to extend the free credit freezes past the current deadline of Nov. 21, and to reimburse fees paid by consumers for security freezes by other credit reporting agencies.
“It is distressing that this massive breach leaves consumers exposed to financial and other harm," said General Slatery. "Consumers need to be vigilant about regularly monitoring their financial accounts and credit reports, and Equifax must actively assist consumers in those efforts."
Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak said, “The Tennessee Division of Consumer Affairs supports this effort by General Slatery and other attorneys general on behalf of consumers across the country.”
Consumers can access tips at the FTC website, at https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/topics/privacy-identity-online-security.
A copy of Tuesday’s letter is available here.