Review of the Free TrustedID Premier Service for Credit Compromised by the Equifax Data Breach

Equifax TrustedID logoWith the Equifax data breach reported thousands of times over in the last few weeks, it is no surprise that consumers are in a bit of a panic. Cybercriminals managed to steal personal identifying information of more than 143 million Equifax customers, including social security numbers, dates of birth, and current and previous addresses – enough information to be dangerous in establishing new, fraudulent credit accounts in victims’ names. To help offset some of the widespread outcries from individuals affected by Equifax’s blunder, the major credit reporting agency offered its TrustedID Premier service. But what, exactly, does one get with the credit monitoring platform? Here’s what you need to know.

TrustedID Premier: A Primer of Services

Anyone who visits the emergency website established by Equifax can quickly input their information to see if their details were part of the recent security breach. If personal details were compromised, consumers have the ability to sign-up for the TrustedID Premier service offered by Equifax, directly from the website. Through TrustedID Premier, what Equifax calls a credit file monitoring and identity theft protection platform, individuals receive the following:

  • Copies of an individual’s Equifax Credit Report
  • Credit file monitoring of all three major credit bureaus, including Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, which provides automated alerts when key changes to a credit file have been detected
  • Equifax credit report lock which shuts down access to Equifax credit reports by any third party, like a new creditor verifying credit information for a new account
  • Social security number monitoring which sweeps suspicious website for an individual’s social security number
  • Identity theft insurance of up to $1 million that is intended to help pay for out-of-pocket expenses should identity theft occur

Each of these five services is provided to consumers who sign up through Equifax at no cost, and they are in place for one year after the subscription is activated.

Some Caveats

Consumers should be aware that the enrollment process for TrustedID Premier can take several days to begin. Many individuals had trouble receiving the link necessary to activate the service subscription after completing the online enrollment steps, and while Equifax encourages customers to call to report any issues, wait times, understandably, are far longer than most people are willing to sit on hold. Once the activation link is generated, however, enrollment is complete and the five services are in place.

The other, larger issue with enrollment in TrustedID Premier is that the data breach took place nearly two months before it was disclosed to the public. This means the cybercriminals who stole identifying information from Equifax databases have had these details for an extended period of time. TrustedID Premier is a reactive service, helping identify issues that may arise after activation, but millions of consumers may have already fallen victim to identity theft during the two-month timeframe where no credit monitoring was taking place. Individuals concerned that their information was used to establish an account fraudulently should take the time to check their credit reports from each of the three major credit bureaus, even if TrustedID Premier is now activated.

If TrustedID Premier does not seem like enough proactive protection against identity theft and fraud, consumers always have the option to use various credit locking tools to prevent someone else from establishing an account in their name, such as a credit freeze, credit report lock or fraud alert.

Final Thoughts

Equifax has done what any credit reporting agency would do in the wake of a massive security breach that affected millions of consumers. Establishing a site to check if personal details were compromised in the breach while also providing a credit monitoring and identity theft protection solution at no charge is beneficial in staving off those who may have access to your information. However, it is important to take additional steps to safeguard yourself from credit fraud. Be sure to pull your credit reports from each of the three credit bureaus and put additional safety measures in place to ensure no one is using your information fraudulently.

Posted on September 29, 2017 by in Credit Monitoring

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