A new study has revealed that despite Equifax’s data breach affecting 145 million American adult consumers, 71 million U.S. adults still don’t know anything about it.
The study, implemented by CreditCards.com, was reported on by Consumer Reports. The article describes a “hodge-podge of state laws” when it comes to notifying consumers of data breaches, which has led to Equifax itself contacting “relatively few” consumers on its own.
“Only about 20 states and U.S. territories have specific provisions about how consumers must be notified and what information must be contained in that message,” Consumer Reports noted.
The differences in state laws — and the increasing concerns involved with these large data breaches — have caused some in the federal government to seek federal laws that would apply to all American consumers in such a situation. Equifax executives appeared at a recent Senate committee meeting titled “Protecting Consumers in the Era of Major Data Breaches.”
Regardless of what laws may exist, a number of consumer advocates believe Equifax should be doing more to ensure that all affected consumers know about the breach.
“While Equifax may be following the law, ‘doing enough’ doesn’t just mean meeting the bare minimum state requirements,” said Maureen Mahoney, policy analyst at Consumers Union.
What’s Being Done
Consumers Union, the policy and mobilization arm of Consumer Reports, has created a petition to send to Equifax. This petition would pay for credit freezes, extend credit monitoring, and give consumers more information about what actually happened, in addition to a number of other consumer demands.
— Consumer Reports Advocacy (@CRAdvocacy) November 9, 2017
While the union has already received more than 180,000 signatures to deliver to Equifax, you can still sign the petition here.
While consumers hope for better protections in the future from lawmakers, it’s still important to monitor your credit — especially now. Users who are extremely concerned can enroll in credit monitoring, or institute a credit freeze. Note that state laws differ — surprise, surprise — on what fees may be involved with a credit freeze, so do your research beforehand.