Opinion

A lighter take

Welcome to the ‘Equifax Qwik Kredit Repair’ tutorial

epa06200064 A view of a sign for the company Equifax on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York, New York, USA, on 12 September 2017. The company recently disclosed that a data breach, discovered in July 2017, may have impacted as many as 143 million consumers in the United States. Equifax is one of the three main organizations in the US that calculates credit scores and has access to personal information including names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, some driver's license, and credit card numbers. EPA/JUSTIN LANE

Justin Lane/European Pressphoto Agency

“Equifax Inc. today announced a cybersecurity incident potentially impacting approximately 143 million US consumers. The information accessed primarily includes names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers.”

Welcome to the Equifax Qwik Kredit Repair Tutorial!

What you’ll need: pen (really!), paper, calculator, pin-prick blood testing device, bandages, orange juice, or, alternatively, electrolytes. Any offspring you may have given birth to with your current partner. A stellar memory.

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We’ve been responding to customer feedback (*additional fee involved to read further.)

What we’ve learned is you’d all like this process to be ... (please enter name of your kindergarten teacher here to read further) much simpler for all involved. With that in mind we’d like you to fill in the following details:

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1. Your Social Security number. In order to ensure that we didn’t carelessly let your final defense against fraud and abuse slip into the wrong hands, you must type all of that information here, right now. And, if you’re in a public place, scream it out at the top of your lungs, just to confuse eavesdroppers. Our reasoning is sound: no thief will believe that’s your actual number and this will trick him into not stealing it. Smart, right? We learned that at spy school. Just kidding. We didn’t go to spy school. We have no idea how any of this happened and we’re just winging it.

2. Next. Write down every known address you ever had. Again. Counterintuitive. But: same logic as before. Also, we’ve heard that nostalgia lulls people into a happier, less litigious frame of mind. Like when you call a dog “puppy” and it wags its tail. Try it!

3. Speaking of which. Write your favorite pet’s name or name you wished you’d named your pet. Or kid. This isn’t actually a security question, per se, but it is adoption season and what better way to “hive mind” this question than with the input of more than a hundred million Type As, all keyed-up and panicking and, therefore, at their most creative — veins coursing with adrenaline at the thought of some creep using their hard fought credit worthiness to buy the sort of impractical things their good sense never allowed them to? When you think about it, there’s a lesson to be learned here, isn’t there? Live for the moment. Seize the day! Oh, okay, we get it. Too soon.

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4. OK, this will bring us to our form filling segment. Limber up your fingertips and get out your check book because we’re going to have you type the router numbers and account numbers of your last four paychecks. This will absolutely guarantee that any shred of privacy you have left will be shared with anyone there in the wifi café. Also, we forgot to give you a PIN. Oops. It’s fine. Just pick one. Only you will know your secret PIN. Of course, that is, if the cyber hackers didn’t already do this and create their PIN in your name, using all your details. Then they’ll have your PIN. Gosh, that was dumb, we really should have started with that. Our bad. (*This is not a legal admission of guilt by us, our parties or affiliates.)

5. Finally, since we can no longer rely on the Social Security number as a fool-proof identifying device, please use the pin — an actual pin — to prick the top of your finger, or that of your closest genetic relative. Smear the blood on a piece of paper. Mark it with your name, date of birth, pet name, etc., bandage your finger, and . . . ( *for the rest of the instructions, please TEXT help to SNAFU, you’ll incur a nominal per-word charge.)

Oh and be sure to clear your browser’s cache and history — can’t be too careful!

Debra A. Klein is a writer in San Francisco. Follower her on Twitter@IWishIHadTyped.
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