AG Hood calls on credit bureaus to halt fees for consumers impacted by massive Equifax breach

Attorney General Jim Hood announced today he joined 36 other attorneys general in urging consumer reporting agencies Experian and TransUnion to immediately stop charging fees to consumers who want to put credit freezes on their accounts.

Posted: Oct 21, 2017 8:07 AM
Updated: Oct 21, 2017 8:07 AM

JACKSON, Miss. (Press Release) Attorney General Jim Hood announced today he joined 36 other attorneys general in urging consumer reporting agencies Experian and TransUnion to immediately stop charging fees to consumers who want to put credit freezes on their accounts in light of the massive data breach at the consumer reporting agency Equifax.

“If these agencies do not waive their fees, I intend to make Equifax pay for the fees that victims have incurred due to their hack,” said General Hood. “For customers who have already paid fees to place a freeze on their account, Equifax must reimburse them.”

The attorneys general sent a letter last week to the consumer reporting agencies (CRAs) urging them to stop charging fees for credit freezes and fees to lift or temporarily lift credit freezes on consumers’ accounts. The Equifax data breach reported last month has so far affected over 145 million Americans, including more than 1.3 million Mississippians.

Immediately after that breach, General Hood joined a group of attorneys general that forced Equifax to extend their free credit monitoring through the end of January. Although Equifax also agreed to waive fees for its security freezes, people are still having to pay fees at other agencies. While it is legal in Mississippi to charge up to $10 to place a freeze on credit reports, General Hood believes a measure to waive that fee in extreme situations such as this breach should be seriously considered. The CRAs profit by selling consumers’ information, and they have a responsibility to protect that same information.

Three actions are suggested for consumers when credit breaches take place: 1) freezing credit, 2) monitoring credit, and 3) locking credit.

  • A credit freeze is when a consumer’s credit report data is sealed and made inaccessible to third parties. This prevents identity theft, and protection of credit through a freeze is guaranteed by law; however, the freeze must be lifted in order to open new lines of credit or apply for a loan or mortgage.
  • Credit monitoring is a system that monitors for fraudulent activity on a consumer’s credit report—such as a new account or credit inquiry—and notifies consumers of suspicious actions. Having credit monitored usually lasts for one year before the initial request expires.
  • A credit lock is similar to a credit freeze, but rather than being guaranteed by law, it is an agreement between the consumer and the credit monitoring company, which generally means consumers are liable for any issues that take place while an account is locked. Lifting a lock is also usually much faster than lifting a freeze.

Currently, some of the CRAs are offering credit locks but in some cases are also charging a monthly fee for the lock and combining it with other services, such as credit monitoring. In other cases, the CRAs offer a credit freeze free of charge, but the terms and conditions indicate that consumers’ information will be shared with affiliates and third-party marketers.

In addition, General Hood offered the following tips consumers can take to safeguard against identity theft:

  • Regularly request your free credit reports, inspect them closely, and promptly dispute any unauthorized accounts;
  • Inspect all financial account statements closely and promptly dispute any unauthorized charges;
  • Consider placing alerts on your financial accounts so your financial institution alerts you when money above a pre-designated amount is withdrawn;
  • Beware of potential phishing emails; don't open any email messages or attachments from unknown senders, and do not click on any unknown links. Fraudsters will frequently send coercive and misleading emails threatening account suspension or worse if sensitive information is not provided. Remember, businesses will never ask customers to verify account information via email. If in doubt, contact the business in question directly for verification and to report phishing emails; and
  • Be on the lookout for spoofed email addresses. Spoofed email addresses are those that make minor changes in the domain name, frequently changing the letter O to the number zero, or the lowercase letter l to the number one. Scrutinize all incoming email addresses to ensure that the sender is truly legitimate.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 115088

Reported Deaths: 3255
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7973177
DeSoto703979
Harrison522384
Jackson457884
Rankin394086
Madison383194
Lee357380
Forrest304678
Jones292484
Washington258399
Lafayette250443
Lauderdale2478135
Lamar225538
Oktibbeha202454
Bolivar201677
Neshoba1849111
Lowndes179962
Panola170040
Leflore167187
Sunflower162349
Warren154855
Monroe150673
Pontotoc147220
Marshall143129
Lincoln140157
Pike138456
Copiah137536
Scott125429
Coahoma124937
Grenada122638
Yazoo122234
Simpson121549
Union118825
Tate116839
Leake115041
Holmes114760
Itawamba113925
Pearl River113660
Adams108544
Prentiss106120
Wayne101722
Alcorn100112
George99218
Covington97527
Marion95042
Tippah90322
Newton86627
Chickasaw85526
Tallahatchie84526
Winston84121
Hancock84028
Tishomingo81241
Attala79426
Clarke75851
Clay69321
Jasper68717
Walthall63927
Calhoun62612
Noxubee59817
Smith59416
Montgomery54923
Yalobusha54514
Claiborne53716
Tunica53517
Lawrence51814
Perry49423
Carroll49312
Greene47818
Stone47514
Humphreys43816
Amite42513
Quitman4206
Jefferson Davis41011
Webster37613
Benton3416
Wilkinson33820
Kemper32615
Sharkey28514
Jefferson27610
Franklin2423
Choctaw2086
Issaquena1074
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 155915

Reported Deaths: 2674
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson23129377
Mobile16849315
Tuscaloosa10296140
Montgomery10197197
Madison928096
Shelby733863
Baldwin663769
Lee653465
Calhoun456761
Marshall438150
Etowah426551
Houston414834
Morgan412035
DeKalb338829
Elmore320053
St. Clair292542
Limestone284230
Walker277292
Talladega265335
Cullman244024
Lauderdale226242
Jackson214915
Franklin205231
Autauga204831
Colbert200532
Russell19443
Blount192525
Chilton186932
Dallas186527
Coffee176311
Dale175151
Covington174029
Escambia172530
Chambers135044
Clarke134317
Pike133513
Tallapoosa131787
Marion107629
Barbour10319
Marengo100822
Butler100740
Winston92213
Geneva9007
Lawrence85032
Pickens84718
Bibb82814
Randolph82316
Hale76730
Washington74412
Clay74112
Cherokee73314
Lowndes70928
Henry7086
Bullock64817
Monroe64610
Crenshaw60630
Perry5896
Fayette57413
Wilcox56712
Conecuh56113
Cleburne5568
Macon53420
Lamar4905
Sumter47221
Choctaw39012
Greene34216
Coosa2033
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