What A Revoltin’ Development This Is… #socs

A classic TV show I haven’t seen in a while is The Life Of Riley. It was originally a 1949 movie starring William Bendix and a 1949 TV series that starred Jackie Gleason that ran for two seasons, but what most people think of when they hear the name is the TV series starring Bendix that ran from 1953 to 1958. At some point during each of those shows (usually toward the end), Chester Riley (Bendix) would face the camera and say “What a revoltin’ development this is!”

Fortunately, some kind soul has put many of the shows on YouTube. Here’s the first, where he tries to help his daughter Babs become freshman class president.

“A revoltin’ development” is how some might describe the latest mess caused by Atlanta-based Equifax, one of three credit-reporting bureaus in the United States (the other two are Experian and TransUnion). When you apply for a credit card, home loan, mortgage, anything involving your credit, the creditor checks your credit-worthiness with one of the three bureaus (sometimes all three) before lending you money. Sometimes companies will check your credit score before offering you a job, and I would bet that more than a few people considering marriage run a credit check on their partner before popping or answering the question. I mean, it’s a huge business, and you have no choice but to play the game. Whether or not you consider yourself one of Equifax’s clients, they have all of your information: name, current and past addresses, phone numbers, date of birth and taxpayer identification (i.e. Social Security) number. Anyone getting their hands on that information can “steal your identity,” i.e. impersonate you, obtaining loans you don’t know about and that they have no intention of paying.

So, you would expect that a company with that kind of sensitive information at its fingertips would be very careful about guarding it, wouldn’t you?

Well, evidently Equifax discovered that the records of 143 million or so individuals (mostly in the US and Canada) were taken by a clever hacker exploiting a security flaw in their servers. They made this discovery at the end of July, but didn’t choose to inform people that their records might have been taken until last week. During the six weeks between making this discovery and letting people know about it, several officers of the company sold their stock, leading many to believe that they knew about it but kept up appearances so they didn’t lose too much.

This has me quite upset. Number one, 143 million is an estimate, and likely a low one, but it represents close to half the population of the United States. Number two, I have friends that worked for Equifax. Emphasis on worked: about fifteen years ago, Equifax outsourced their IT department by selling to a new company and transferring its IT staff to the new company, so even though they were still working at Equifax, they no longer worked for them. And number three, the people who stole the information got a six-week head start while Equifax management were covering their asses to keep the stock price high so they wouldn’t lose too much money.

Pardon my French for just a minute: I’m really pissed off about this. This is a massive fuck-up on their part, and I don’t think they’re taking it seriously enough. The people who sold their stock took advantage of their insider knowledge to avoid personal losses. Hell, Martha Stewart spent time in jail for insider trading that’s peanuts compared to this. And we’re the ones who are on the hook. It’s our identities that have been compromised, and now our responsibility to ensure (as best we can) that we don’t get hurt by this.

Revoltin’ development, indeed…

Stream of Consciousness Saturday is brought to you each week by Linda Hill and this station. Now, here’s Mike Wallace with a word about Fluffo!

26 thoughts on “What A Revoltin’ Development This Is… #socs

  1. I totally agree with you on this latest fiasco. I’ll never understand why people don’t put a stop to it by refusing to allow anyone acess to their social security number. Legally, it is ONLY to be used for social security purposes. That does NOT include credit card companies, cable TV companies, hospitals, or anybody other than your employer (NOT a prospective employer) and maybe your bank. IF they didn’t make it easier than stealing candy from a baby for the crooks by tieing everything about you to that SS#, they MIGHT just have to do a little bit of work. That would eliminate a heck of a lot of this idenity theft. I get pissed off every time I have to fight with another company about handing out my PRIVATE information to get a simple service. Then, to get my entire life screwed up because of their insistance, is really infuriating. I hope the people will stand up for once and DEMAND that the SS# can NEVER be used for anything other than what it was intended for. Remove it from ALL other records. Make the crooks have to earn their money again!


    1. Exactly! It’s not supposed to be used for anything but Social Security. Medicare and disability use a modified version of it (they tack “-A” at the end), and in a way you kind of expect that because the three programs are tied together (and it’s not as much a problem if they do it), but it’s illegal to use it as anything else (e.g. employee ID, tax ID). I’ve run into that several times when companies put a check digit at the end of the SS # so that technically it’s not really the SS #, but they should be generating their own number. Ditto health insurance, which is also tied to the SS #…

      The other thing is, if they’ve hacked into Equifax, they’re trying to hack into TransUnion and Experian. One day they’ll succeed, if they haven’t already.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes John, I agree. The SS number on everything just makes it toooo easy. I think even tempts the criminals into doing things they wouldn’t even think of trying if it wasn’t all handed to them on a silver platter.
        At this point, I have to assume we’ve all been hacked. How to deal with that without completely disrupting your life? That is the issue now.


        1. I don’t think there will actually be a way for things to go back to “normal.” This was something I don’t think anyone ever anticipated happening, which is why we’re all running around like headless chickens trying to figure out how to protect ourselves. The credit bureaus have been collecting information on all of us for years, and while they perform a useful service, they almost have too much information, and I don’t think any of them was prepared for what might happen. Well, now, it has, and sad to say, it’s everyone for themselves.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I agree with you about ‘normal’. What is that anyway?? My issue is that so many people seem to think that others will protect them and do the right thing. Because they don’t think anything bad will come of it. Now look where we are. I don’t see how anything other than bad could possibly have happened.
            And yes, they have WAY too much information! Most of which people freely (or in my case basically coerced) gave to them. To eventually be used against us. And does anything happen to the people who were supposed to protect against this sort of thing. No, never.


  2. I’m not at all happy with Equifax, and I’m not willing to enter any of my information into any of their databases. Here is the shortened link from Cnet that I found to be helpful goo.gl/YBvkCo.


    1. I bet they’re out of business in a year, or at least owned by another company by then. I don’t think all the political favors they’ve bought over the years can keep them out of trouble now.

      Thanks for the link! I’ll check it out.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s disgusting how this could happen and so sad when people must be in these systems and still get hurt. I deal with people who have credit issues all the time and tell them to get their report and now no one is safe.


    1. That’s the thing that kills me: they know how valuable those records are and how sensitive the information is. They must have known they were a huge target and that it would require some extraordinary measures to safeguard those records. And yet, they didn’t do it, they failed to apply the security patches that would have protected that information. Then, when they did finally figure out that they had been hacked (a couple of months after the incident, during which time whoever got in was selling the info on the dark web and getting rich), rather than immediately telling the world that they had been hacked and helping people mitigate the damage by freezing their credit reports, they sat on the information for six weeks while they cashed in their stock. I have all kinds of questions: Why didn’t they keep up with the maintenance on their servers in the first place? Why did it take them so long to detect that they had been hacked? Why didn’t they immediately tell the world that this had happened? Why didn’t they immediately put a credit freeze on everyone and worked with Experian and TransUnion to do the same, rather than making the victims do that for themselves (at $10 a crack)? Why are they trying to sell credit protection services (they’re offering a free year, after which they start billing you) when they were the ones that screwed up?

      Yesterday, I saw an article that said their chief security officer is a young woman with a master’s degree in music composition. Now, she might be well-qualified, I don’t know, but it almost sounds like Equifax management is setting her up to take the fall on this one.

      But you know all this…


  4. I notice that they have been told to cease and desist trying to take advantage of their carelessness by trying to sell services on the web site used to alert people whether or not their private information has been stolen. I noticed this when I checked to see if our data was compromised. The web site had all kinds of offers for fee (not free) – based services that would save us from, essentially, THEM!

    Regarding Martha Stewart, I think she went to jail for a transaction that amounted to under $100,000. Peanuts to her – what was she thinking?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think she was in love, because it made no sense to me, either.

      I checked and it told me mine “might have” been compromised, then read where people were putting fake names and SS #’s in and getting the same message. I think it’s better to just assume that your data has been compromised and proceed from there. And as far as their “free” credit monitoring, I’m afraid I’d end up getting what I paid for. I’ll stick with LifeLock and do a credit freeze. The fact that they’re trying to sell services when it was they who screwed up is par for the course. I never got the impression they were all that good a company.


    1. They have a website where you can enter your last name and last 6 digits of your SS # and it will tell you, but I’ve heard that it generally tells everyone their data was stolen, so it’s probably best to proceed as if it was. All three bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) can freeze your credit for a $10 fee, which tells any creditor not to issue credit unless you ID yourself with a PIN and some other information. I use LifeLock, which helps you re-establish yourself if someone steals your identity. They also give you a composite credit report each month, so you can watch for any changes. Kim Komando’s website (komando.com) has been posting a lot of really good articles and suggestions for how to protect yourself. Guess it’s not something we can “set and forget” anymore…


  5. I’m not in a good mood anyway and learning that the higher ups with stock probably hid what happened so they could sell at a good price infuriates me. I know someone in IT who works for a company that’s been trying for more than a year to get rid of their IT department and outsource the work. So far they haven’t been able to do it because the company that’s supposed to take it over can’t do the job. When will companies learn that they should keep their IT people close at hand.



    1. I read in the lawsuit (link is below) that the CFO managed to sell his stock for almost a million dollars, again while the rest of us were blissfully unaware there was even a problem. That’s just unconscionable. And I would think that a company who was in a position like Equifax would want to keep their IT people inhouse. But everyone does it, even, apparently, the US Government.

      The thing that kills me is, even if I were to stop using the Internet and delete all my information from it, well, I can’t. There’s just too much of it and it’s in too many places.


  6. Agree 100%. I went online to check to see if our info was in the compromised category and my info was but my husband’s wasn’t. Interesting. I am taking advantage of the “free” service they are offering to “protect” my credit for the next year. I did not know about the six week delay in reporting it. That is so not right! Yes, jail for all of them and compensation for us!


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