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Equifax Outage Halts Credit Freezes, Fraud Alerts

If you've frozen your credit file as a protection against identity thieves, you may have to wait a while longer to get it thawed out. Equifax, one of the big three credit reporting bureaus, is still reeling from a system-wide computer outage that began this weekend.

Equifax spokesman Tim Kline said the company experienced a power outage on Sunday as a result of an electric transformer failure, and that it is in the final steps of bringing its last remaining systems online.

"We still have some platforms we're bringing up, including those that allow people to unfreeze and freeze their credit, and place fraud alerts," Kline said. "Service is operational for virtually all of our customers and this is last area we need to resolve."

That is to say, the only systems still to be brought back online are ones that are required by law and do not earn the company any revenue, including those responsible for handling credit freezes and fraud alerts.

I called Equifax's toll-free line for placing and lifting fraud alerts and was told to call back tomorrow and then hung up on by the customer service representative after hearing an extremely fast explanation of the outage.

Individuals who wish to place a fraud alert can still do so by calling one of the two other major credit bureaus, either TransUnion (1-800-680-7289) or Experian (1-888-397-3742), By law, if you place a fraud alert at one bureau, that bureau is required to alert the remaining two bureaus on your behalf.

By Brian Krebs  |  April 28, 2009; 4:57 PM ET
Categories:  From the Bunker  | Tags: credit freeze, equifax, fraud alert, ourage  
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Comments

What kind of low-end shoestring under-capitalized operation are they running? They can't afford UPSs, failover power, and generators?

Posted by: wiredog | April 29, 2009 7:58 AM | Report abuse

I placed a credit freeze over a year ago and despite repeated efforts haven't been able to remove it. Equifax is either nonresponsive or gives you information that does not resolve the issue. I've given up for now and realize that my good credit and lack of need for credit creates so far no problems. If and when I need new credit, I'm hoping that the lender can get my freeze removed. These credit reporting agencies have considerable power, but little or no accountability. The customer comes last.

Posted by: Mike236 | April 29, 2009 8:14 AM | Report abuse

The problem is, Mike236, YOU are not the customer and you do not own your data. Rest assured, the true customers; the banks and loan sharks, get nearly instant response.

DLD

Posted by: DLDx | April 29, 2009 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Equifax is and has always been a terrible company. My credit report still lists my last job as a job I had over 20 years ago even though I updated them several times. The info they have and they use to compile credit scores is out dated and incorrect. It’s long past the time to shut these hacks down. Their IT department is as useless as their customer service dept. is.

Posted by: askgees | April 29, 2009 10:12 AM | Report abuse

For those who have posted their negative experiences with the credit reporting companies, I suggest you contact Senator Dick Durbin (IL) who currently in the process of preparing legislation to thwart credit card company abuses and I believe he would be sympathetic to the experience you have had and include the added protection needed to correct these problems.

Posted by: cqbrodie | April 29, 2009 11:34 AM | Report abuse

If you can't get your rating to go from "frozen" to "good" - or from "old" to "new" - imagine how the thieves and crooks feel who can't have theirs updated from "wonderful" to "THIEF"!

LOL!

The "insiders" can always do the most harm. I wonder how much of this entire financial upheaval has been caused by "insiders" and the companies who hired them will NEVER reveal what they have allowed to happen.

We have more than 500,000 foreign workers INSIDE all of our high-tech companies (H1-B visas alone). What percentage of them are crooks, hackers, and spies? .01% would yield 50! 1% would yield 5,000! How thorough have the security checks been?

Remember the visa worker who tried to destroy 4,000 Fannie Mae servers - his LinkedIn data says he works for BoA now!

What about the Indian "scientists" (post-doc research assistant) and "inventors" (who have NO inventions listed at the US Patent and Trademark Office) who were crying about how they couldn't get back into the US (because of the "Bad" US officials) - sounded like their visas had EXPIRED before the voluntarily left the US.

Why isn't WP following up on these stories?

Posted by: Sadler | April 29, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

The companies have a sweet deal. If you want to freeze your credit to prevent ID theft, in most states they are allowed to charge you $10 or so to initiate the freeze, after dire warnings about how you'll cause the entire US consumer-driven economy to collapse. Then if you need to get a home mortgage or business loan, you have to pay them more money to temporarily lift the freeze so that the mortgage company, for example, can access your credit rating. Of course the mortgage company is also paying for that credit report, and of course you are also paying that cost as part of your loan costs. So really...you're paying this company to collect information on you that you haven't asked them to do, then turn around and pay them to not give it to people who are paying them for it, then pay them to give it to people you want them to give it to (because they insist on having it) and then pay those companies for getting it from credit bureaus. Amazing!

Posted by: blowbush | April 29, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

The credit agencies operate like mafia thugs charging protection money: "Sure is a nice credit history you got here. It would be a shame if something were to, uh... happen to it. If you don't pay us now, who knows who might get the wrong idea and make off with your good identity."

Posted by: mee6 | April 29, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Credit agencies are responsible for the current recession and housing disaster.
They are responsible for the credit card crisis.

How?

In order to have "good credit" according to their rules you must maintain revolving charges on 3 credit cards, at roughly 1/3 of your maximum.

Why does this rule exist? To generate income for, and curry favor with the credit agency's customers - Credit card companies!

The best credit risk is a consumer that pays off their credit cards each month.... But that person is punished by the credit agency rating scams.

Fair Isaac, Experian, Transunion, and Equfax need to be investigated, re-regulated, and reformed or we wil lre-visit this financial crisis again in the future!

Posted by: onestring | April 29, 2009 5:30 PM | Report abuse

onestring: even better- wall street has a million disclaimers that state 'past performance is no indicator of future value' yet when it comes to extending credit, then collateralizing the payments, the banks and credit raters would have you beleive that past perf. is the ONLY indicator of future performance. Missed a payment by 3 days? youll surely default. cell phone bills, 'lifestyle choices' they suck it all in. Soon they will pick your genetics to figure out how many monthly payments you have before death.

Posted by: mikey999 | April 29, 2009 7:43 PM | Report abuse

Equifax are bunch of thugs, the only way I can get my credit profile with them is if I sent them request by mail - with ids else I can't get it via online system.

I signed up 11/month with them so I can check my profile even that was closed down , and when I logged in all my entries were gone ... ??? This is suppose to be a reliable agency for mortgage ???

Posted by: SuperMan-clark | April 30, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

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