If you've had your identity stolen or if you're worried about having been doxxed by Equifax, you can freeze your credit record, and then Equifax, Experian, Trans Union and Innovis will block any requests to access your credit report.
But that doesn't really matter. Equifax operates a secondary, noncompliant credit bureau called National Consumer Telecommunications and Utilities Exchange (NCTUE), on behalf of a secretive cartel of owners led by AT&T, but also including mysterious organizations like "Centralized Credit Check Systems."
Freezing your credit report has no effect on NCTUE; what's more, NCTUE operates in a careless and incompetent fashion, with invalid SSL certificates and other glaring errors. NCTUE has a separate system for freezing your credit report there, but it doesn't work -- filling in the form and submitting it just returns obscure errors. You may be able to freeze your report by calling NCTUE, but they might charge you a separate fee, and there's no guarantee you'll get through.
This scenario will no doubt be familiar to many readers who tried (and failed in a similar fashion) to file freezes on their credit files with Equifax after the company divulged that hackers had relieved it of Social Security numbers, addresses, dates of birth and other sensitive data on nearly 150 million Americans last September. I attempted to file a freeze via the NCTUE’s site with no fewer than three different browsers, and each time the form reset itself upon submission or took me to a failure page.
So let’s review. Many people who have succeeded in freezing their credit files with Equifax have nonetheless had their identities stolen and new accounts opened in their names thanks to a lesser-known credit bureau that seems to rely entirely on credit checking entites operated by Equifax.
“This just reinforces the fact that we are no longer in control of our information,” said Kerskie, who is also a founding member of Griffon Force, a Florida-based identity theft restoration firm.
Think You’ve Got Your Credit Freezes Covered? Think Again. [Brian Krebs/Krebs on Security]