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Group To Equifax: Step Up Efforts To Help People Affected By Data Breach

Consumers Union delivered a petition Thursday with180,000 signatures to Equifax, calling for the Atlanta-based company to do more for people affected by the data breach.
Consumers Union delivered a petition Thursday with 180,000 signatures to Equifax, calling for the Atlanta-based company to do more for people affected by the data breach.
Credit Miranda Hawkins / WABE
Audio version of this story here.

Consumers Union, the nonprofit behind Consumer Reports magazine, is putting pressure on Equifax to do more for people affected by the Atlanta-based company’s data breach.

The group delivered a petition to Equifax on Thursday with 180,000 signatures.

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Two months ago, Equifax announced a cyberattack that exposed the personal information of 145 million people. Consumers Union outlined seven steps it wants Equifax to take, such as offering compensation if they become victims of identity theft and providing credit freezing for free.

“It’s not like we had a choice to be customers of Equifax,” said Justin Brookman, the director of consumer privacy and technology policy at Consumers Union, as he stood in front of Equifax’s headquarters in Midtown. “They collect our data whether we want them to or not. So they have a special obligation to protect that data and to protect consumers when that data is exposed.”

Batia and Bernard Lieberman joined Brookman and a handful of others in front of Equifax’s headquarters earlier Thursday. They said their information was stolen during the data breach. In fact, Bernard said two weeks after the breach, someone tried to open a credit card in his name.

“I got a phone call from Clear Monitoring service asking me if I was responsible for a credit inquiry,” he said. “And the answer was no. It was from Synchrony Bank, which gives Amazon credit cards. I have an Amazon credit card, but it’s from Chase bank.”

Bernard said even though the matter was resolved, it left a black mark on his credit.

“I would expect them to be out here serving us coffee and apologizing to us,” Batia said.

The credit-reporting agency’s senior vice president of external affairs met with Brookman and Consumers Union’s Equifax campaign manager, Tim Marvin, Thursday morning.

“We had a productive conversation this morning with representatives from the Consumers Union and appreciated hearing their concerns,” an Equifax spokesperson said. “We were pleased to share with [Brookman and Marvin] some of the measures we have already taken to address many of the concerns they raised in their letter, as well as future efforts such as our new credit lock, which will be available to all consumers in early 2018.”