A couple of years ago UnitedHealthcare was hacked and customer data was compromised. The company paid for credit monitoring and fraud alert and a bunch of other (probably) worthless stuff. That was my first encounter with a “credit freeze” which I put in place with all three of the credit reporting agencies. The freeze stays in place until I lift it.
I was thinking about this in light of the Equifax cluster fuck and came across a story explaining how these work:
“Credit freezes, also known as security freezes, place a lock on access to a borrower’s credit report. With a credit freeze in place, lenders and other companies cannot view the borrower’s credit. As a result, freezes prevent the consumer from gaining access to new loans, such as credit cards and mortgages, but they also keep fraudsters from opening new accounts in that person’s name. […] Credit freezes go further than either credit monitoring or alert by making credit reports inaccessible to lenders and others who might have an interest in viewing a consumer’s credit history.”
Here’s my favorite line from the article:
“Those who sell credit freezes don’t like them much. “Freezing your credit file is an extreme step that removes you from the credit marketplace,” says Rod Griffin, director of public education with the credit bureau Experian.”
Hey, Roger? Tough titty. I can say that because I’m well past the age where credit is important. (Yes, lucky me) And a credit freeze doesn’t protect you from everything. It’s probably like The Club… the crooks just move on to an easier target.
Eventually every hacker will have every piece of personal information on every person on the planet. It will be like all baseball card collectors having every single card for every team. Nobody to trade with.
Here’s a puzzler: have you ever heard of a member of Congress having their identity hacked? I haven’t either and perhaps that’s because such a breach would be kept very quiet. I like to think that it happens. I hope it happens.