I’m going to tell you a little story, but if you want to get a good night’s sleep I don’t recommend it at bedtime. Here’s how it starts. Once upon a time there was a credit reporting agency named Equifax. I’m not going to tell you the whole story because unless you live under a rock I’m fairly confident you’ve heard a lot of it already—although new information seems to be surfacing every day. Anyway, to save time I’m going to skip a bunch of pages and cut to the chase and tell you what happened to me.
Like most Americans, the news of the Equifax data breach left me feeling more than a little disconcerted. So, I went to their website where I read, Your personal information may have been impacted by the incident. Lovely, I thought as my head began to ache. If I wasn’t so freaked out by everything, I might have found it amusing that they referred to the largest data breach EVER as an incident. An incident that included a breach of ALL of my personal information: Name, Address, Date of Birth, Social Security Number, and in some cases driver’s license numbers. You know, everything a fraudster would need to steal my identity and/or wreak havoc on my credit. But, I digress. After I found that my information was included in the “incident” I opted to not sign up for their ‘free’ year of credit monitoring, my Capital One credit card already does that for me, but I did stick around on their website to put a freeze on my credit—me and the other 143,000,000 people whose information was also compromised. At least that’s what it felt like. Unfortunately, to add insult to injury, it didn’t go smoothly.
After filling the required information for Step 1 in to their online form, clicking the submit button, and watching the little circle swirl around for an incredible length of time, I received an ironic error message that read: Thank you for giving Equifax the opportunity to assist you. We’re sorry. We cannot process your security freeze request at this time. Please try back later. I repeated the process at least a half a dozen times until, hallelujah, I got to Step 2 of 3 which read: We were able to locate your credit file. Please select which security freeze option you would like to request (you may only select one option at a time). Great, right?! I thought so until I read further. Here were my options:
Temporarily lift a Security Freeze by Date Range
Permanently remove a Security Freeze
Wait, what? The last message I received said they were unable to process my security freeze. Now they want to know if I want to lift my freeze. But what about the 10 digit PIN number I read about? Was I assigned one?
Even though I thought I’d spent enough time taking care of this issue (silly, naïve me) I picked up my phone number, punched in the number, rubbed my eyes as my headache began to spiral, and settled in for a long wait. It took about 35 minutes before someone in the India-based call center picked up.
Agent: “Thank you for calling Equifax, may I have your confirmation number?”
Me: “I don’t have a confirmation number.”
After a brief explanation, the agent transferred me to a different department which came with a hold time of an additional 15 minutes. I was overjoyed when I heard the hold music end, but that came to a quick end when the person on the other end opened their mouth.
Agent: “Confirmation number?”
After I provided the agent with all of the same information I entered at least six times previously on the website. He was able to locate my account, provide me with a confirmation number, but not my 10 digit PIN number. That, he said would be mailed (via snail mail) to the address on file. I was to receive my PIN within 3-5 business days. Yay! Credit freeze in place.
That’s one (credit bureau) down, two to go. Or so I thought…The 3-5 business days have passed and I have yet to receive my PIN.
My headache rages on!
A. Alliance Collection Agency, Inc. is a full service, licensed accounts receivable management and debt collection agency providing highly effective, customized one on one management and recovery solutions for our business partners. Founded in northern Illinois in 2005, we have been proudly improving the bottom-line on behalf of our business partners in and around Chicagoland for over 12 years.