Democrats on House panel urge Equifax to extend protections

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democratic lawmakers on a House investigative panel are asking the credit-monitoring company Equifax Inc. to provide free credit monitoring and identity theft protection for at least three years.

Equifax has offered up to one year of complementary protections after a massive data breach last year compromised personal information for about 145 million Americans.

The Democratic members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee argue that identity thieves often wait much longer to act on stolen information.

The lawmakers said the company’s chief information security officer told committee staff in a briefing last October that data thieves would likely wait a year or more before attempting to sell the data on the black market.

The lawmakers made their request in a letter to Equifax’s interim chief executive. They said consumers “should receive the most robust form of credit protection and identity theft services available.”

The company replied in a statement to The Associated Press that it has launched a service that allows consumers to lock or unlock their credit file with the company. The service is free and there is no time limit. The lock can be done online and prevents access to the credit file by certain third parties.

Meanwhile, “we are engaged with both federal and state regulators and are having ongoing discussions about appropriate remediation for consumers,” the company said.

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