Schatz rips Equifax for its handling of massive data breach

Schatz rips Equifax for its handling of massive data breach

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz is yelling now – at least on Twitter.

The Hawaii Democrat skewered Equifax on the social media platform Monday, saying that the company is "ripping off" consumers by not covering the costs associated with putting credit freezes on their accounts.

Equifax has been scrambling to explain itself since disclosing last week that it exposed vital data about 143 million Americans -- effectively most of the U.S. adult population.

It's come under fire from members of Congress, state attorneys general, and people who are getting conflicting answers about whether their information was stolen.

Equifax discovered the hack July 29, but didn't disclose it until last week. Officials said the breach exposed the Social Security numbers, birth dates and other data of victims.

In the wake of the breach, many experts – including Hawaii's own consumer advocate – have urged consumers to consider putting a credit freeze on their accounts.

But as Schatz noted on Twitter, those freezes aren't free.

"If people at Equifax cannot pull it together to actually take care of consumers, they shouldn't be allowed to possess our identities," Schatz wrote on Twitter. "This @Equifax debacle shows this credit report ecosystem operates in the dark, no accountability or consumer protections. It ruins lives."

Equifax is offering breach victims free identity theft protection and credit monitoring.

But Schatz says the company should also reimburse customers for the cost of putting a credit freeze in place. A credit freeze costs $10 at each of the three credit reporting agencies.

"If half of those hit by breach buy 'credit freeze' then Equifax makes $700 million off their own mistake. That's a ripoff. Waive the cost!" Schatz wrote on Twitter.


Also Monday, U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, was among the senators calling on Equifax to end its use of forced arbitration agreements that limit the ability of consumers to pursue actions in public courts in response to corporate wrongdoing.

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