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Statement on Equifax’s Lock & Alert Product Announcement

For Immediate Release

This statement can be attributed to Mike Litt, Consumer Campaign Director at U.S. PIRG

“Today, Equifax launched Lock & Alert, a service that will let consumers lock and unlock their Equifax credit reports indefinitely for free. This service only blocks access to Equifax credit reports, not credit reports at the other two bureaus, Experian and TransUnion.

Locks appear to block access to credit reports the same way that credit freezes do. Freezes and locks both deny thieves the ability to open any fake accounts in your name. However, freezes are a right mandated by law and not conditional on terms set by companies.

After reviewing the Lock & Alert agreement and terms of use, it does not appear consumers are giving up their rights to a day in court, as they are with a different terms of use on Equifax’s website. But your rights as a consumer are on firmer ground with a freeze under law.

Equifax has also extended its deadline for getting free credit freezes on its credit reports from today to June 30th. Regardless of the extension, we recommend consumers should act sooner than later because each day that goes by is another day an identity thief could open an account in your name if you haven’t blocked access to your credit report. And we don’t think there should be any deadline at all. Freezes should be free for consumers to get at any and all times.

Blocking access to your credit reports at all three national credit bureaus remains the best action consumers can take after the Equifax breach, whether they were affected by it or not.

Whether consumers chose to get a free freeze or a lock on their Equifax credit reports, they will also need to get freezes at Experian and TransUnion for complete protection. Blocking access to your credit report with one bureau but not the other two is like locking your front door but leaving your garage and back doors wide open

However, In most states, you’ll have to pay fees at the other two bureaus. U.S. PIRG opposes these fees because consumers shouldn’t have to pay to protect themselves for a problem they didn’t create. Regardless, we recommend paying the fees for the peace of mind that comes from protecting yourself from new account identity theft.

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Our step-by-step guide for placing credit freezes with all three bureaus is available here. FAQs about the Equifax data breach are available here.

U.S. PIRG is the federation of state Public Interest Research Groups.  PIRGs are non-profit, non-partisan public interest advocacy organizations that stand up to powerful interests whenever they threaten our health and safety, our financial security, or our right to fully participate in our democratic society. On the web at www.uspirg.org.

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