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Given the recent news about Equifax leaking information about millions of U.S. consumer (and some from U.K. and Canada), Is there any way for me to prevent Equifax from retaining my information?

Typically if a company does something I disagree with, as a consumer I can chose to not use that company anymore. That doesn't seem to be the case with credit reporting agencies. In fact, I don't know that I have ever agreed to allow Equifax to hold my personal information in the first place (although, I suspect it's probably in the Terms & Conditions of opening a new credit card account).

So, if I don't want Equifax to collect information about me anymore, are there any steps I can take? Or is it pretty much if I want to be able to get credit, I have to accept Equifax will collect my personal information?

I am speaking as a U.S. Citizen (California resident if it makes a difference).

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    You shouldn't be worried about Equifax. Worry about aggregators like Acxiom. Acxion has a dossier on you that has every detail of your life. All your relatives, your medical information, your work history, every magazine you ever subscribed to, everything you ever bought with a credit card, your school records, you name it, Acxiom collects it. They have your whole life and the life of your family in their databases. – Five Bagger Sep 12 '17 at 0:08
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In general, no, you cannot, short of participating in no activities they would collect information on. Credit reporting agencies (CRA's), such as Equifax, are not working on your behalf or for you; they are collecting information from creditors and passing it on to other (potential) creditors. Even if you never apply for credit again, they'll continue collecting any information that does come out (such as rentals, payments on current credit, etc.).

CRA's are regulated, and the major piece of legislation affecting how they can collect and report this information is the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Your primary rights revolve around who is allowed to see the contents of the report; while Equifax will maintain a report of all information related to your SSN/etc. regardless of your choice, you can choose not to share that information with anyone.

In particular, if you request a Credit Freeze, you are instructing them to never share it with anyone. It's still potentially risky (if a fraudulent user gets enough information to be able to instruct them to remove the freeze), but in general that risk is fairly low (particularly if they fix the current issue with the PIN numbers). Someone with a credit freeze is a hard target, and fraudulent users are going for the plentiful soft targets.

If you freeze only Equifax's information, you still have the potential to be able to get credit from those lenders/etc. who use one of the other two bureaus (TransUnion or Experian) without lifting the freeze, or could lift the freeze on a temporary basis.

  • Pretty depressing answer but more or less what I expected. This article by security expert Bruce Schneier showed up on my feed today which seems relevant: cnn.com/2017/09/11/opinions/… – FGreen Sep 12 '17 at 16:32

protected by Chris W. Rea Dec 9 '18 at 20:47

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