Credit being the life blood of the US economy, if credit freezes up because of the Equifax fiasco, it could well have knock-on economic effects. From Wolf Richter at wolfstreet.com:
Third largest US bank reaches out to its customers. A mass credit freeze would have a huge impact.
No one knows yet how the Equifax hack – during which Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, “in some instances,” driver’s license numbers of 143 million consumers had been stolen – will wash out for Equifax, or for the other credit bureaus.
But it increasingly looks like a far bigger and broader mess not only for the credit bureaus but for the overall consumer-based US economy whose grease is easy and often instant consumer credit.
People are trying to put a credit freeze on their data at the three major credit bureaus to protect themselves from identity theft. Victims of identity theft get caught in years of a Kafkaesque nightmare where debt collectors hound them for debts incurred in their name by someone else.
A credit freeze is the best protection against identity theft. It has now been recommended by State Attorneys General, the US Government, the biggest mainstream media outlets, and numerous other outfits including from the first moment on – the evening of September 7 when the hack was disclosed – my humble site. In over 400 comments on my three articles (here, here, and here), readers have shared tips and frustrating experiences trying to deal with overloaded websites that crashed, sent people in wrong directions, or failed in other ways to produce results.
The credit bureaus claim that they have staffed up their call centers, beefed up their websites, etc. etc. But it’s still a mess. And it has been going on for ten days!
So we know there is a surge of consumers trying to protect themselves by putting a credit freeze on their data at the three major credit bureaus. But only the credit bureaus know the actual number. And they keep it close to their vest.
Now even Well Fargo, the third largest bank in the US by assets, posted an “Equifax Alert” on its customer login-page. This is the page millions of customers see when they log into their accounts.
To continue reading: Holy Moly, Now Wells Fargo Recommends a Credit Freeze in Equifax Hack