House Democratic lawmakers have asked Equifax to extend free credit monitoring and identity theft protection from one year to three years following the massive 2017 data breach affecting 145 million Americans. The lawmakers’ request is based on studies showing that identity thieves often wait longer than a year to act on the stolen data. While not making a decision on this request, Equifax replied in a statement to The Associated Press that it has launched a service allowing consumers to lock and unlock their credit file with the company for free.
Congress' request makes it clear that the effects from the Equifax data breach will continue for years to come. As a result, Nevada consumers should continue to monitor their credit profiles closely and dispute any fraudulent or inaccurate information immediately in writing with all three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union). If these bureaus fail to update, consumers have the right to hire an attorney for no out-of-pocket expense to bring claims under the Fair Credit Reporting Act to restore their credit and receive compensation.
Shortly after the announcement of the Equifax Data Breach in September 2017, then Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”), Richard Cordray, authorized an investigation of the matter. On Monday, Reuters reported that the current director, Mick Mulvaney, has most likely put an end to this investigation, which was seeking to obtain information regarding Equifax’s actions leading to the breach and its possible liability. The report shows that the CFPB has “shelved plans for on-the-ground tests of how Equifax protects data[.]"
With this pullback in regulatory action, enforcement against Equifax (and other credit bureaus) will likely rely more heavily on private consumer protection attorneys to bring claims related to identity theft and credit reporting violations.