By now, you’ve probably heard of the security breach at Equifax, one of the three major consumer credit-reporting firms. Consumers, understandably, are distressed. You may have already heard from some of your clients. If not, you probably will.
Here are the main takeaways from the incident at Equifax:
- After public pressure, the company has eliminated the fees it charges customers who want to freeze their credit; it is also offering “free identity theft protection and credit file monitoring.” However, if your clients choose to do this, they may be giving up their rights to participate in future class-action lawsuits against the credit-monitoring giant. If you want to take them up on their offer, you can visit www.equifaxsecurity2017.com.
- Help may come with strings attached. Just be sure you know what you’re doing in terms of your rights — you don’t want to end up in arbitration if you’re entitled to hold Equifax accountable, should a court deem they need to be held accountable. You should consult, if you can, with a legal professional. Right now, there’s a lot we don’t know. But on September 15, 2017, the company announced you can opt-out of the arbitration clause in writing, if you do it within 30 days.
- You can’t get help right away. Even if you sign up for the services Equifax is providing, you’ll be provided with a sign-up date, and it’s not an immediate fix. If you’re affected, you need to consult with your financial advisor and other financial services professionals. You may need to freeze your credit at each of the big-three credit monitoring agencies (the other two are Experian and TransUnion).
When in doubt, consult with other professionals in the wealth management industry, such as CPAs and lawyers; when something big like this happens, misinformation can spread rapidly, and people can get nervous. It’s important to make sure you have all the facts when you’re making decisions.
FOR FINANCIAL PROFESSIONAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR USE WITH THE GENERAL PUBLIC. CP-1000 – 2017/9/15
Related terms: Breaking News