With more information coming out about the Equifax data breach, consumers are increasingly looking for answers on whether their information is protected.
Atlanta-based Equifax recently announced that as many as 143 million people were exposed when hackers exploited a website application to access files earlier this year. Equifax, one of the three main credit-reporting agencies in the U.S. lending industry, waited six weeks to tell the public, leading to outrage and calls for class-action lawsuits.
Can I count on LifeLock to protect me after the Equifax breach?
Money expert Clark Howard says freezing your credit is the No. 1 way to protect yourself from identity fraud. One question people are asking is if LifeLock is just as good as a credit freeze.
The short answer is no, because you can get free credit monitoring by setting up an account at CreditKarma.com. LifeLock advertises that it can help secure your information to guard against identity theft, but it charges you monthly services that start at $10 a month. Why pay for credit monitoring when you can get it for free? And monitoring is not the same as a credit freeze.
Furthermore, LifeLock is using the same technology that hackers infiltrated at Equifax. In December 2015, LifeLock partnered with Equifax on a “Consumer Disclosure Agreement” encompassing the former’s identity theft protection services, including “credit monitoring, credit data and credit score products and services,” according to a news release posted on StreetInsider.com. That partnership is still active, according to the L.A. Times.
Consumers have been left unaware as LifeLock signups have jumped tenfold since the Equifax hack. An executive of Symantec, the parent company of LifeLock, told Bloomberg that business has been booming.
“We’re over 100,000 new members and counting since the breach,” Fran Rosch, the company’s executive vice president of Consumer Business, was quoted as saying. “Most are paying the full price, rather than discounts. It’s a really incredible response from the market.”
Given the current state of things and so that consumers can have a measure of peace of mind, Credit Karma is the way to go.
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If you have specific questions about the Equifax breach and how it may impact you, contact Clark’s Consumer Action Center — a FREE help line open Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. EST with volunteers available to answer YOUR concerns! Call Team Clark @ 404-892-8227.