Michigan AG Announces Updated Consumer Guidance on Equifax

In light of the latest revelations of an additional 2.5 million consumers impacted by the breach, Attorney General Bill Schuette is offering new help to those affected.

by Ted Yoakum, Niles Daily Star / October 11, 2017
Consumer credit reporting agency Equifax, whose headquarters in Atlanta is seen here, said a breach of its computer systems had exposed the Social Security numbers and birthdates of up to 143 million U.S. consumers. (Dreamstime/TNS) TNS

(TNS) -- LANSING — Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette announced Monday that his consumer protection team has released an update to the Equifax Breach Consumer Alert providing the latest information following the announcement that an additional 2.5 million consumers were impacted by the breach.

The consumer protection team also released a new alert, “Credit Freeze; Fraud Alert; & Credit Monitoring,” to help Michigan consumers understand the different protection measures they can take after a security breach.

“The fall out from this breach continues to grow and my consumer protection team is diligently working to make sure Michigan residents know what to monitor as they move forward,” Schuette said. “It is important for individuals to determine if they are affected and I encourage anyone who believes their personal information has been compromised to file a complaint with my office.”

Equifax recently announced that 2.5 million more consumers were impacted by the breach than originally thought, including almost 80,000 additional Michigan residents. In Michigan, the breach has now impacted the personal information of more than 4.6 million consumers. Complaints to the Department of Attorney General are significant and the number continues to grow. Currently, more than 560 complaints have been filed.

Equifax promised to update their website by October 8, 2017, so that consumers can check if they are in the newly discovered group. Those who checked their status with Equifax before Oct. 8 and were not impacted should check again to ensure that status has not changed and to take appropriate steps to protect their information if it has.

The newly released consumer alert offers Michigan residents information on how to protect themselves from identity theft in the wake of a security breach. In addition to educating Michigan consumers about the basics of fraud alerts, credit freezes, and credit monitoring, the alert answers some of the frequently asked questions about these measures, including the following:

• “Do I have to freeze my credit with all three credit agencies?”

• “Is there a difference between a security freeze and a credit lock?”

• “Do I have to pay for a fraud alert?”

• “How can I make the most of credit monitoring?”

Schuette joined other state attorneys general last month in issuing a letter demanding Equifax reimburse the cost associated with a credit freeze for affected individuals. In the letter, the attorneys general also expressed their concern that the original Nov. 21 cutoff date for Equifax’s free services was short-sighted.

As part of last week’s announcement about the additional 2.5 million impacted consumers, Equifax also extended the deadline to sign up for its free services to Jan. 31, 2018, and promised to send direct mail notice to those most recently identified as impacted consumers. Originally Equifax was sending direct mail notice of breach impact to a limited list of 380,000 consumers.

©2017 the Niles Daily Star, Mich. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.