Credit reporting bureau Equifax recently suffered one of the worst data breaches in history. The company exposed the personal records of 143 million Americans.
SSNs, addresses, credit card numbers, full names, and other personal information were all exposed to hackers.
In response to the hack, Equifax is giving customers a free one year subscription to a program called “Trusted ID”, which claims to protect your identity by actively monitoring the internet for any fraudulent use of your information.
Unfortunately, Equifax’s Trusted ID service has faced overwhelming criticism for two major reasons:
Problem 1) By Signing Up for Trusted ID, You Waive the Right to Sue Equifax
The upcoming class action lawsuit against Equifax could be the largest lawsuit in history. 143 million people were possibly affected by the data breach, and that means the settlement could be huge.
By signing up for Trusted ID, you’re waiving your right to participate in a class action lawsuit against the company. In fact, you’re waiving the right to participate in any lawsuit against Equifax. It’s all clearly written in the terms and conditions.
If that doesn’t scare you, then consider this: if your identity gets stolen and used fraudulently as a result of the Equifax leak, then you’ll have no legal course of action against Equifax. You won’t be able to request any damages from the company – say, if you lose your job or house due to identity theft.
Problem 2) There Are Numerous Reports that the Tool Doesn’t Even Work
One of the craziest things about Equifax’s solution is that it may not even work.
Equifax bundles a “Hack Checker” tool with its Trusted ID service. That hack checker tool lets you enter your last name and the last six digits of your SSN. Then, you’ll get a notice saying that your record may have been exposed during the hack – or it was not exposed.
Unfortunately, the internet is flooded with reports that the hack checker isn’t working. Our friends at ZDNet described the data breach checker as “basically useless”.
The checker reportedly spits out randomized information and results. You can type in “Test” as a surname and “123456” as the last six digits of your SSN, for example, and the checker will tell you that you “may have been impacted.”
Meanwhile, multiple users on Twitter have claimed that they checked their records twice and got different results.
Ultimately, all of this adds up to mean that you should absolutely not sign up for Equifax’s Trusted ID program. However, if you choose to waive your right to sue, and are aware of the risks, you can sign up at: https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/enroll/
Conclusion: Use a Better Credit Monitoring Service
So you don’t want to sign up for Trusted ID, but you still want to actively protect your identity.
Thankfully, there are good alternatives like LifeLock, among others. LifeLock provides bulletproof credit monitoring protection similar to Trusted ID, and you don’t waive your right to significant compensation by using it. You can also sign up in minutes online, and your identity can be protected immediately.
As a LifeLock subscriber, you’ll receive constant credit report monitoring, free credit reports from all three bureaus, and constant online scanning (including darknet scanning) for any fraudulent use of your identity.