When the new Equifax chief executive, Mark Begor, appeared before the House Financial Services Committee last week, he put on a brave face and offered conciliatory words.
“We believe the consumer is central to what Equifax is,” he said. “Our goal is to be a consumer-friendly credit bureau.”
He has a lot of work to do. The same customer-service shortcomings that Equifax displayed after a giant data breach 18 months ago are back, according to six readers who tried to do what should be a very simple thing: Freeze their children’s credit files.
At Experian and TransUnion, the process seemed to go well for the most part. At Equifax, however, the readers ran into brick walls. Many got letters in the mail saying that Equifax could not freeze their children’s files because the files did not exist, even though the company is supposed to create new files in order to freeze them. A company called Credit Parent has popped up to help people navigate the process, charging to deal with the hassle. Its fail rate on its first couple dozen kiddie freeze attempts with Equifax has been about 20 percent so far, while it has had no trouble with Experian and TransUnion.
The readers who called Equifax for more information often could not reach a live agent. If they did, that agent was sometimes rude and hung up on them. One customer service manager told a parent that the Equifax form I had linked to in my last column about this topic was wrong (it wasn’t) and that she needed to use a post office box that was different from the one I listed (she didn’t).
In the fall of 2017, in the wake of the breach that allowed thieves to get their hands on more than 100 million Social Security numbers, the company proved again and again that competence was in short supply within its ranks. The tools it built to help victims failed repeatedly. Even with lots of lead time, it botched the 2018 rollout of a credit lock service it hoped people would use in lieu of credit freezes.
And now here we are again, this time with a suboptimal system for protecting our children from identity theft. And Equifax had plenty of opportunity to plan for this, too — legislators were forcing the three major bureaus to offer this option to everyone.
It’s hard not to agree with the bipartisan consensus among the leadership at the hearing, where the chairwoman, Representative Maxine Waters, Democrat of California, called out the companies for “capitalizing on consumers’ fear and desperation.” The ranking member, Representative Patrick McHenry, Republican of North Carolina, said point blank, “The system is broken.” Then, he specifically called the companies out for making the kiddie freezes so complicated, noting how much more effort it was going to take to freeze his children’s files than it would to freeze his own.
He’s not so fond of Equifax, either. “The breach demonstrated the complacency and technological inadequacies of a corporation that in many cases knows more about people generally than it does about themselves,” he added.
Indeed, I had a bunch of questions for Equifax about itself and the bungled processes around children and credit freezes. The company refused to let Your Money readers sign waivers so I could speak to the company about their situations. Other financial services companies routinely do that when customers ask me to contact companies on their behalf. Instead, Equifax would only speak with these readers directly.
The company would also not put an executive on the phone with me to discuss the problems. Left with few other choices, I sent Equifax 34 written questions. I received answers to five of them, and that’s if I’m being generous about the definition of “answer.”
Credit freezes are important for children, as I outlined in the column a few months ago. Most people don’t monitor their child’s credit, and a freeze shuts down the child’s file so that creditors cannot gain access to it. That should keep thieves from setting up a new credit account using your child’s name. (Credit freezes are good for grown-ups, too, and all freezes are now free thanks to federal laws.)
Here’s how it’s supposed to work: You send in some documents establishing your identity and that of your child, and then the credit bureau sets up a new file for your child and immediately freezes it. I tried it out last year on the first day it was available for all three major credit bureaus, and it worked fine for me and my two daughters.
But for Equifax, it did not work well for many of you. As Mr. McHenry observed, the process is tedious, and it’s especially frustrating when it doesn’t work.
“As a father of two, I have serious concerns with this process,” Mr. McHenry said in an email, when I told him what I’d learned since he questioned bureau executives last week. “To now hear reports that even when parents go through the steps to freeze their child’s credit they may be met with even more roadblocks is unacceptable. While I am in contact with the bureaus regarding this issue, I have not seen the necessary progress to solve this serious problem yet. If the credit reporting bureaus do not act, then Congress must to find a solution.”
Let’s drill down on one part of the credit freeze confusion, just to paint a picture of how little Equifax really does know about itself, as Mr. McHenry so aptly put it. When adults freeze their credit files, they get a personal identification number they can use to thaw that freeze when they want to apply for new credit. (Don’t lose it! It’s hard to get a new one and can make a hash of any semi-urgent need to borrow or, say, close a home purchase.)
Equifax has been sending out PINs for minor children whose parents do manage to successfully freeze their credit. One Your Money reader, Lan Wang of Houston, found herself in a situation where Equifax had rejected one of her requests while allowing another.
After I asked Equifax about her case, she found herself on the phone with LaDeamya Mixon, an Equifax employee who has spent 26 years there. Equifax assigned her to help the people I had sent its way, presumably handpicking someone with the authority to explain the problems accurately and solve them.
Ms. Mixon told her that the company was generally not sending PINs for minors. A PIN shouldn’t be needed, she said, because you can’t lift a freeze for a minor at all. Instead, the freeze automatically thaws a week before a minor’s 16th birthday.
But Nancy E. Bistritz-Balkan, Equifax’s vice president of communications and consumer education, told me something different. PINs are in fact still used — and necessary — for children. Freezes, she said, stay in place until a legal guardian or the child changes the child’s status after he or she turns 16. So if you have a PIN, you had better hold on to it.
Trying to figure out which of these two Equifax employees is correct is no small thing for parents hoping to determine whether they need to keep track of a PIN for 15 years and what will happen when their child gets older. Presumably, the last word belongs to the vice president; Ms. Mixon did not reply to an email.
It’s astounding that Equifax can’t get its stories straight. How hard can it be to see that customers get correct information from the employees the company put on the front lines, particularly when it knew The New York Times was going to follow up with the customers who had problems? And why wouldn’t Equifax put a senior executive forward to talk about the problems in the first place?
In no way do I mean that to be a rhetorical question. So let me issue a challenge here, the same one I offered the company in late 2017 when it was taking a beating in the media: Name a date, and I’ll go down to headquarters in Atlanta to meet the chief executive in person.
“I understand how frustrating it can be for a consumer to feel helpless when dealing with a credit bureau like Equifax,” Mr. Begor said in the hearing last week. “When I hear stories about consumers who have difficulties with us, it strengthens my resolve to push Equifax further to improve our consumer support.”
That sounds nice, but difficulty and helplessness are at the center of Equifax’s brand positioning for now. So how about it, Mark? I’ll come down with a list of questions from readers, and you can answer them without lawyers or public relations executives getting in the way.
I was just hours away from getting on a flight to have a conversation with your predecessor in late 2017, but he backed out at the last minute. Here’s hoping that you’ll be willing to have a chat.B:
名将心水报WWW27735C0m【邓】【鸣】【向】【欣】【欣】【表】【白】【了】，【他】【记】【得】【那】【一】【天】【他】【去】【找】【欣】【欣】，【到】【了】【店】【里】【她】【的】【同】【事】【告】【诉】【他】【欣】【欣】【已】【经】【升】【做】【店】【长】【调】【到】【了】【别】【的】【店】，【她】【怎】【么】【都】【没】【有】【告】【诉】【自】【己】【呢】？【前】【两】【天】【他】【们】【还】【有】【见】【过】【面】【的】。 【走】【出】【门】【店】，【邓】【鸣】【给】【欣】【欣】【打】【了】【电】【话】，【等】【了】【一】【会】【儿】【欣】【欣】【才】【接】【起】【电】【话】。 “【邓】【哥】，【你】【找】【我】？” “【欣】【欣】，【你】【在】【哪】？” “【我】【在】【店】【里】。” “【你】【的】
“【好】【的】。”【叶】【清】【吟】【道】。 【叶】【清】【吟】【看】【着】【灯】【光】【下】【的】【粉】【尘】，【扇】【了】【扇】【风】，【心】【里】【吐】【槽】【道】“【天】【哪】，【清】【逸】【这】【是】【多】【久】【没】【来】【了】。” 【叶】【清】【吟】【摸】【了】【一】【把】【架】【子】【上】【的】【灰】，“【咦】，【这】【么】【厚】【的】【灰】【尘】。” “【苏】【怀】【谦】，【你】【确】【定】【这】【上】【面】【的】【药】【瓶】【还】【可】【以】【用】【吗】?”【叶】【清】【吟】【拿】【起】【一】【瓶】【药】，【看】【了】【看】，【不】【禁】【怀】【疑】【道】。 “【咳】【咳】【咳】，【只】【要】【是】【密】【封】【的】【都】【可】【以】。”【苏】【怀】
“【可】【恶】，【竟】【敢】【如】【此】【取】【笑】【我】【们】【翼】【神】【门】，【天】【医】【谷】【也】【太】【放】【肆】【了】！” “【天】【医】【谷】【也】【太】【不】【把】【我】【们】【翼】【神】【门】【放】【在】【眼】【里】【了】，【该】【死】【的】，【要】【我】【说】【这】【群】【娘】【们】【就】【是】【欠】【收】【拾】！” “【都】【给】【我】【闭】【嘴】！【难】【道】【你】【们】【还】【嫌】【不】【够】【丢】【人】【吗】？【天】【医】【谷】【的】【那】【群】【疯】【女】【人】【那】【能】【是】【你】【们】【招】【惹】【得】【起】【的】【吗】？【不】【想】【出】【去】【被】【丢】【进】【蛇】【窟】【里】【就】【都】【给】【我】【闭】【嘴】！” 【刘】【羿】【飞】【忍】【不】【住】【惊】【怒】【斥】【呵】
“【报】【告】【总】【指】【挥】【官】，【我】【方】【战】【机】【集】【群】【基】【本】【已】【经】【消】【灭】【敌】【方】【战】【机】【集】【群】，【是】【否】【被】【外】【星】【文】【明】【舰】【队】【发】【动】【总】【攻】？”【当】【人】【类】【文】【明】【前】【线】【指】【挥】【部】【的】【军】【官】【们】，【看】【到】【外】【星】【文】【明】【的】【战】【机】【集】【群】【已】【经】【所】【剩】【无】【几】，【甚】【至】【可】【以】【说】【已】【经】【基】【本】【被】【消】【灭】，【所】【以】【马】【上】【就】【有】【军】【官】【对】【前】【线】【总】【指】【挥】【询】【问】【道】。 【听】【了】【这】【一】【位】【人】【类】【文】【明】【前】【线】【总】【指】【挥】【部】【军】【官】【的】【询】【问】，【人】【类】【文】【明】【前】【线】【总】【指】名将心水报WWW27735C0m“【大】【小】【姐】【不】【敢】【当】，【没】【你】【们】【出】【身】【高】【贵】。”【我】【冷】【笑】【地】【盯】【着】Leslie，【继】【续】【道】：“【我】【想】【知】【道】【几】【件】【事】，【你】【最】【好】【老】【老】【实】【实】【地】【回】【答】【我】。” Leslie【挑】【起】【他】【粗】【重】【的】【眉】【毛】【斜】【睨】【我】【道】：“【凭】【什】【么】？【让】【我】【说】【实】【话】【还】【挺】【难】【的】。【再】【说】【我】【骗】【你】【你】【也】【听】【不】【出】【来】。” “【嗯】，【我】【听】【不】【出】【来】，【但】【常】【雨】【林】【能】【听】【出】【来】。【你】【今】【天】【告】【诉】【我】【的】【话】，【我】【都】【会】
【此】【刻】，【他】【那】【一】【本】【正】【经】【生】【气】【的】【模】【样】，【倒】【是】【让】【素】【楝】【更】【为】【安】【心】，【连】【那】【平】【日】【里】【看】【起】【来】【有】【些】【唬】【人】【的】【紧】【蹙】【的】【眉】【头】，【看】【起】【来】【也】【格】【外】【顺】【眼】。【鬼】【使】【神】【差】【之】【间】，【她】【不】【禁】【伸】【出】【手】【指】【点】【上】【了】【华】【璎】【的】【眉】【心】，【可】【是】【当】【她】【的】【手】【指】【尖】【感】【受】【到】【那】【火】【热】【的】【触】【感】【之】【时】，【她】【的】【心】【猛】【然】【惊】【醒】，【她】【在】【做】【什】【么】？ 【她】【慌】【乱】【的】【收】【回】【手】，【立】【刻】【转】【过】【身】【背】【对】【着】【华】【璎】。 【而】【华】【璎】【却】
【运】【气】【或】【许】【是】【守】【恒】【的】，【在】【朝】【永】【名】【前】【进】【的】【众】【人】，【终】【于】【发】【现】【了】【一】【些】【不】【一】【样】【的】【东】【西】。 【那】【边】【是】【一】【只】【正】【在】【前】【进】【的】【陈】【朝】【后】【勤】【旅】。 【一】【箱】【又】【一】【箱】【的】【物】【资】【堆】【在】【车】【内】，【庞】【大】【的】【车】【队】【朝】【永】【名】【的】【方】【向】【驶】【去】，【加】【莱】【一】【眼】【便】【能】【够】【判】【断】，【车】【上】【都】【堆】【积】【的】【都】【是】【军】【用】【物】【资】【无】【疑】。 【那】【能】【量】【块】【的】【味】【道】，【逃】【不】【过】【加】【莱】【的】【鼻】【子】。 “【前】【方】【有】【战】【争】。”【加】【莱】【开】
“【你】【的】【意】【思】【是】【你】【这】【件】【事】【情】【这】【辈】【子】【处】【理】【不】【完】，【你】【今】【生】【今】【世】【就】【没】【有】【成】【亲】【的】【打】【算】【了】？”【沈】【母】【气】【的】【喉】【咙】【里】【快】【能】【喷】【出】【火】【来】。 【沈】【赋】【态】【度】【诚】【恳】【认】【真】【回】【答】：“【那】【倒】【没】【有】。【遇】【上】【自】【己】【喜】【欢】【的】【还】【是】【要】【追】【求】【一】【下】【的】，【要】【是】【人】【家】【不】【喜】【欢】【我】，【我】【再】【考】【虑】【孤】【独】【终】【生】。” “【那】【今】【天】【正】【好】，【你】【二】【舅】【母】【给】【你】【挑】【了】【几】【个】【称】【心】【如】【意】【的】【小】【姐】，【你】【见】【过】【之】【后】【铁】【定】
【系】【统】【通】【知】 【删】【除】 【作】【者】【您】【好】，【您】【的】【作】【品】《【最】【是】【光】【阴】【留】【不】【住】》【章】【节】“【五】【百】【零】【二】【章】、【运】【气】“【已】【被】【屏】【蔽】，【原】【因】：【作】【品】【内】【容】【违】【规】，【请】【全】【文】【检】【查】【修】【改】【违】【规】【内】【容】【后】，【前】【往】【作】【家】【专】【区】——【作】【品】【管】【理】——【已】【发】【布】【章】【节】【中】【选】【中】【相】【应】【章】【节】，【点】【击】【申】【请】【解】【禁】【按】【钮】【自】【主】【申】【请】【解】【屏】。 【好】【久】【没】【有】【被】【屏】【蔽】【了】，【现】【在】【看】【到】【后】【台】【有】【系】【统】【通】【知】【都】【心】【惊】【胆】【战】