WEATHER AUTHORITY : Heat Advisory View Alerts
STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

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: 37542

Reported Deaths: 1272
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds310258
DeSoto205020
Madison156039
Jones125450
Harrison123116
Rankin117320
Forrest107143
Neshoba105077
Lauderdale97581
Scott83715
Jackson80919
Washington78214
Copiah69016
Leake65120
Lee64023
Grenada63412
Oktibbeha63228
Lamar6127
Warren61222
Holmes60842
Wayne57519
Yazoo5747
Leflore56956
Lowndes55317
Lincoln54136
Pike52821
Lafayette5274
Sunflower5269
Monroe47239
Panola4696
Covington4665
Simpson4613
Bolivar42818
Tate41813
Attala39024
Pontotoc3906
Adams38820
Newton37910
Marion35612
Claiborne31811
Pearl River31732
Marshall3074
Winston30513
Chickasaw30419
Jasper2956
Walthall2899
Noxubee2819
Clay26811
Smith26112
Union25811
Coahoma2376
Clarke23425
Lawrence2182
Yalobusha2089
Tallahatchie2064
Montgomery1903
Carroll18911
Kemper18414
Humphreys17810
Calhoun1765
Hancock15813
Itawamba1528
Tippah15111
Jefferson1353
Webster13511
George1313
Jefferson Davis1294
Prentiss1294
Tunica1273
Amite1183
Greene11810
Alcorn1132
Tishomingo1111
Quitman1041
Wilkinson1049
Perry954
Stone802
Choctaw764
Franklin582
Sharkey520
Benton490
Issaquena111
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 56441

Reported Deaths: 1136
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson7186174
Mobile5206147
Montgomery4690114
Tuscaloosa277754
Madison27299
Marshall209012
Shelby182026
Lee171637
Morgan14296
Baldwin139611
Walker112635
DeKalb11187
Etowah110414
Elmore110124
Dallas102810
Franklin96016
Unassigned81428
Russell7340
Autauga73317
Chambers69332
Limestone6914
Cullman6896
Houston6587
Butler65631
St. Clair6463
Tallapoosa64669
Lauderdale6337
Colbert5826
Calhoun5776
Escambia5228
Lowndes49723
Pike4915
Jackson4722
Coffee4534
Covington43913
Talladega4337
Dale4142
Barbour4133
Bullock38010
Hale36723
Marengo36411
Chilton3563
Blount3441
Marion33214
Clarke3296
Wilcox3258
Winston3157
Sumter30413
Pickens2806
Randolph27910
Monroe2773
Perry2632
Conecuh2478
Bibb2322
Macon2279
Choctaw22112
Greene2019
Henry1613
Washington1588
Lawrence1510
Crenshaw1403
Cherokee1357
Geneva1060
Lamar951
Clay922
Fayette902
Coosa691
Cleburne531
Out of AL00
Tupelo
Few Clouds
75° wxIcon
Hi: 95° Lo: 77°
Feels Like: 75°
Columbus
Clear
78° wxIcon
Hi: 95° Lo: 74°
Feels Like: 81°
Oxford
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 74°
Feels Like: 73°
Starkville
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 72°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather