Since the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the call to delete Facebook has gone viral.
I don’t understand why.
Personally, I don’t care if all my Facebook “likes” are tallied and sold. I keep my eye on things like the Equifax breach. In 2017, 143 million Americans had their personal information—credit card numbers, social security numbers, birthdates—stolen by those versed in identity theft.
Call me crazy, but I’d say having your social security number swiped is worse than someone knowing whose status update you gave a “thumbs up” or “heart” to.
I froze my credit after the Equifax breach.
Freezing your credit reports is what all the experts (and Jon Oliver, heh) recommended. Putting a hold on the big 3 credit reporting companies—Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion—means that no one should be able to open a credit card or take out a mortgage in your name.
Unfortunately, thanks to a suicidal deer, I needed to buy a car recently. In order to buy a car, you need to have your credit score confirmed. Therefore, I called Equifax to have my credit un-frozen.
OK, wait. That’s a lie.
At the urging of the Equifax website, I filled out a form online to have my credit reporting restored. After I clicked ‘enter,’ the screen read: This action cannot be completed online; please contact a representative by phone.
Great… so the service you informed me would best be done online, cannot be done online.
I called Equifax, and made the acquaintance of a lovely man from India, Pakistan, or some similar country. Sri Lanka? I don’t know.
We spoke for a moment about what service I needed—to un-freeze my credit reporting—and he asked for my 10-digit PIN number.
(The PIN was something Equifax gave me when I turned off my credit; basically a “password” for a situation like this.)
Then he took my social security number.
Following that, I was asked a series of questions: what was your last loan, who holds your current mortgage, and on and on and on.
As politely as possible, I finally asked, “Hey, I gave you my pin and social… why do you keep asking me questions?”
What happened next should frighten you.
He said, “Some of your answers don’t match the information I have in front of me.”
That’s scary. But what came next was worse.
I said, “Look, I just want my credit turned back on for 24-hours so that I can buy a car. Can you help me?”
Very cheerfully, my representative said: “Oh, yes. I can turn that on for you now. The process takes about fifteen minutes. You’ll be good to go shortly. Is there anything else I can help you with?”
Read that again.
First of all, there was incorrect information about me; my answers weren’t matching what they had on file. That was worrisome. Shouldn’t their information be accurate?
Worse, however, was the fact that the instant I challenged him, my credit was turned back on.
Part of me was happy, because I got my car.
But Jesus… is that all it takes to commit fraud?
You can be worried all you want that Cambridge Analytica took your Facebook “likes” to try and get you to vote for a Cheeto-skinned shitgibbon, but that just means you’re taking your eye off the ball.
Worry about what’s important, not who has your Facebook “data.”