July 23, 2024

The Queens County Citizen

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5 years after data leak at Desjardins, Equifax protection ends

5 years after data leak at Desjardins, Equifax protection ends

Last June 20 marked the fifth anniversary of the massive data breach at Desjardins, but the free subscription to Equifax, to which victims were entitled for a 5-year term, has expired.

Equifax's service provides an “alert” to beneficiaries when identity theft or a data leak occurs, such as the situation with Desjardins. “There's not a huge amount of protection out there,” explains Eric Parent, president and CEO of Eva Technologies and cybersecurity specialist.

For example, if someone opens a new bank account or applies for credit in your name, an entry opens in your file. Therefore, the Equifax service allowed the alert to be sent via email or in an online file.

However, Mr. Parent stated that deleting this entry from your file is “painful” but the “cleaning” could take 6 months to 1 year to complete, he announced.

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Of course, you'll need to call Equifax and prove “you're not the one who authorized the new loan.” Mr. Parent explained. “During identity theft, there is an impact on the credit score, and in this case Equifax doesn't really help,” he continues.

Receiving an alert from Equifax can give a “feeling like something's going on,” but it's “not an overabundance of protection,” the cybersecurity specialist assures.

For Mr. Parent, it is “unfortunate” to learn that Equifax is the only recourse Quebecers have in this type of situation. “This is a service we subscribe to and we wait until the damage is already done and we try to fix the problem,” he concluded.

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