….Equifax persisted for days in charging many people for the privilege of freezing their credit files. Such a freeze is helpful because a new creditor cannot obtain a credit report on a person who has one and thus cannot loan money to a criminal impersonating that person. Equifax eventually relented and said it would stop charging fees for freezes, even as its horror show of a website was still charging fees days after the announcement.
Richard Russell of the Bronx questioned whether Equifax might have an incentive to be casual about security so that it could turn around later and charge what amounted amounts to protection money. “Isn’t that what this credit freeze is essentially?” he asked in an email to me this week. “In many parts of the world, this would be labeled extortion.”
It was only when I searched my Equifax-related email for the words “fear” and “scared” that I fully understood just how defeated so many people felt about walking around with data leeches permanently attached to their wallets.
Diane Beeney, who lives in York, Neb., said in an interview that she couldn’t even bring herself to put the last six digits of her Social Security number into Equifax’s website — which is what the company demandedright off the bat of people who wanted to determine whether their information had been compromised….