In 2017, Equifax experienced a massive information leak. To compensate, the company offered its 148 million customers free credit monitoring, with the help of TrustedID Premier, Bank Rate says. The New York Times reports that customers who decided to avail this cost-free service are now obligated to find a different protection service as the lock is set to end on January 31 this year. This data protection service can also end if the customer avails the same service from a different company.
With the end of Equifax’s free offer fast approaching, customers need to decide fast before the lock lifts. To warn users, Equifax sent emails announcing the impending end of the free service. Equifax also told its customers through emails that they can extend their subscription for another year with TrustedID Premier. However, through another email blast, the company suggests availing the second year of subscription with Experian.
Due to the confusion arising from this, the federal government mandates credit institutions to provide security freezes without any charge, according to The New York Times. This move offers the same security an account lock provides. What differentiates the freeze from a credit lock is the source of customers’ rights and the setup process.
According to Bank Rate, credit freezing has a more complicated process of setting up. It also takes a while for the freeze to be lifted. With this option, the law outlines the rights of the customers. On the other hand, locks are easy to apply, especially with bureaus offering their own services, sometimes free of charge. The downside about this is that users’ rights are set by the bureaus.
On the part of Equifax, the solution is to register with Experian’s IDNotify. With this program, customers are entitled to credit monitoring services and a credit report without any cost. It also offers CreditLock and insurance covering identity theft, all free of charge for 12 months. This offer stands until January 31. Experian is known to charge monthly fees for IDNotify, a service offering the same benefit.