HARRISBURG — Attorney General Josh Shapiro, with a growing, bipartisan group of 32 Attorneys General from across the country, today sent a letter to Equifax demanding the credit reporting agency stop charging fees to consumers attempting to freeze their credit following the massive data breach affecting 143 million Americans and up to 5.4 million Pennsylvanians.
“Equifax waited six weeks to disclose this breach to Americans and they’ve done everything wrong since,” Attorney General Shapiro said. “Pennsylvanians need to able to get accurate information and freeze their credit, if they choose, without cost or bureaucratic delay; instead, Equifax has been trying to make a buck off of vulnerable consumers.”
The letter sent today by Attorney General Shapiro and his colleague attorneys general demands that Equifax:
“Continuing to offer consumers a fee-based service in addition to Equifax’s free monitoring services will serve to only confuse consumers who are already struggling to make decisions on how to best protect themselves in the wake of this massive breach,” the letter states. “Selling a fee-based product that competes with Equifax’s own free offer of credit monitoring services to victims of Equifax’s own data breach is unfair, particularly if consumers are not sure if their information was compromised.”
The attorneys general also said that, although Equifax has agreed to waive credit freeze fees, the other two credit bureaus, Experian and Transunion, continue to charge fees for credit freezes. The attorneys general said Equifax should reimburse consumers who incur any fees to completely freeze their credit.
Pennsylvania is leading the investigation along with a group of other attorneys general, in a probe that was launched the day after Equifax publicly disclosed the data breach on August 7. In an initial letter sent to Equifax last week, Attorney General Shapiro and other attorneys general demanded information about the circumstances that led to the breach, the reasons for the 6-week delay in public disclosure, the protections in place at the time of the breach and the proposed response by Equifax to safeguard consumers moving forward.
“The day after the data breach was disclosed, I ordered our Office’s Bureau of Consumer Protection to begin an investigation of Equifax’s conduct,” said Attorney General Shapiro. “We’ll pursue this investigation wherever it leads us and as long as it takes to protect every Pennsylvanian and American whose personal, financial information was compromised.”
Attorney General Shapiro and his colleagues recommend consumers do the following:
Please click here to view today’s letter.
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