Today Equifax disclosed that private customer data was breached earlier this year, which impacted 143 million people. Already the company announced a destination website to help people who have been impacted. One big problem remains: Equifax’s customer service employees don’t seem to know about the breach yet.
When we called the dedicated hotline Equifax has set up to field inquiries about the hack, we got a recording saying you’re calling outside of normal business hours of 7 a.m. to 1 a.m.—even though we called at 5:45 p.m.
Moreover, one of my colleagues at Fast Company decided to call Equifax’s generic customer service line because she felt uncomfortable giving her social security number online to figure out if her account was impacted. A customer service representative was not aware of the event, and neither was a supervisor.
“No, we haven’t received any news about [the breach],” the supervisor said. “I’ll take note of this,” she added, “this ‘massive hack’ that you’re referring to.”
My colleague then described the breach in great detail–quoting the press release, listing websites covering it–all to the supervisor’s surprise. “We have no information about this,” she kept saying. “We’ll look into this.”
This is especially jarring given the magnitude of the breach: 143 million accounts means that nearly half of the United States population’s private data could have been compromised; it’s very likely many people will be turning to customer service to learn more about what happened and what customers can do. According to the supervisor, her team has received no memo and thus have no procedure for dealing with the issue. “I can pull up your file,” she said to my colleague, “but I can’t tell [if your account was compromised].”
“If there is [a hack],” she said, “they will give us a heads-up.” Hopefully her team gets a heads-up soon.