One of the big criticism of how credit-monitoring company Equifax has handled the massive data breach that exposed over 143 million Social Security numbers is that the help site is so darn hard to navigate. (the site has also been hit with accusations that it isn’t very secure.)
Let’s take a look at how the site is set up. The site is found at https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/. Once you arrive there you see this page.
It’s not necessarily immediately clear where you need to go. If you want to check to see if your account has been affected, you need to click the Potential Impact tab. Click here to check might have been a better label.
You then get a paragraph about the issue and you have to click yet another button to go where you can enter your information. Because. the more steps the better, right?
You’re taken to a page that wants your last name and the last 6 digits of your Social Security number. Not everyone is comfortable with entering that information. It’s completely up to you. You can also call their customer service reps and do it on the phone, but be aware that they are probably entering it into the same system you are when you type it at home.
Interestingly enough, when I tried to go to this site, my security stopped me. That doesn’t necessarily fill one with confidence. But I was able to finally get there by temporarily disabling my security. I’d heard that the system wasn’t necessarily that accurate, so I tried putting in “Test” as my last name with “123456” as my Social Security number.
It came back that my account was affected. But I suppose there could be someone with the last name “Test” and “123456” as their SSN digits. Whether your name comes up as affected or not, you can still enroll for the free year of credit monitoring. Click the Enroll button.
You’ll receive free credit file monitoring, a credit report, monitoring for your Social Security number, 1 million dollars in ID theft insurance, and the ability to lock your credit report against some third parties viewing it for one year. You do have to provide all of your pertinent information, though including your Social Security number.
As I said in a previous article, some security concerns have been raised about the Equifax security site, so whether you choose to enroll is up to you. More on this situation as it develops.