What will it take for Equifax to get back in the good graces of consumers? If you consider that it was hit with one of the worst data breaches in recent memory–and the fact that it was never in the good graces of consumers to begin with–the obvious answer is “nothing.”
Nevertheless, Equifax wants to get off your naughty list. It’s launched a new service called Lock & Alert, which it says will give consumers more control over their Equifax credit reports. The service, available to anyone over 18 and supposedly free for life, lets consumers quickly lock and unlock their credit reports from a computer or mobile device. Equifax says the feature will make the process of granting lender access more frictionless, which will come in handy when applying for loans that require credit checks.
While the service may sound useful on its face, some consumer advocates are saying to exercise caution. Mike Litt, consumer campaign director for the group U.S. PIRG, told NBC News that the service may open consumers up to a new set of problems, as it allows Equifax to use consumer information for marketing purposes. “[C]onsumer rights are on firmer ground with a freeze than a lock,” Litt followed up in a tweet.
If you’re thinking about signing up for Lock & Alert, Consumer Reports has the pros and cons here. Good luck!