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Equifax Set to Share More PII with Experian

Under-fire credit agency Equifax has turned to competitor Experian to extend credit monitoring to customers affected by a major breach in 2017, although this will mean sharing even more information with the third-party unless they opt-out.

The news came in an email Equifax is sending those who enrolled on its TrustedID Premier service following the catastrophic breach of 148 million users last year.

The firm is now offering a further year of credit monitoring via Experian’s IDnotify service.

Experian is already using Equifax customers’ names, addresses, dates of birth and Social Security numbers in order to provide file monitoring as part of TrustedID Premier. However, the new deal will involve the company also getting hold of their phone numbers and email addresses, unless they opt-out.

“Experian will only use the information Equifax is sharing to confirm your identity and securely enroll you in the Experian product, and will not use it for marketing or solicitation,” the note reads, according to Krebs on Security.

However, some may feel uneasy about sharing yet more information with a third-party — especially one which itself has suffered a major data breach in the past. Around 15 million US consumers had their details exposed in a 2015 incident.

Paul Bischoff, privacy advocate with Comparitech, argued that the decision to share this contact info “mainly serves the credit bureaus and not breach victims.”

“Without consent, Equifax unilaterally made a decision to share contact info of people who signed up for its TrustedID program — many of whom registered out of fear of consequences from Equifax's own catastrophe,” he added. “If TrustedID users take no action, their personal information is shared with a third party and they receive no benefit. Users must either affirmatively opt-out of the data sharing or enroll in Experian's similar credit monitoring program, IDnotify.”

What’s more, credit monitoring will not help those affected by the Equifax breach prevent identity theft taking place. Instead, it only notifies once a fraudster has already stolen one’s identity, according to experts.

“A better solution would be to put a credit freeze on your credit report, but doing so cuts into the credit bureaus' bottom lines,” said Bischoff. “A credit freeze blocks creditors from viewing your credit report, a service that creditors pay credit bureaus for.”

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