Consumer Protection is too Lax in the Digital Age

One of the most important things in securing your future is your credit score. You cannot rent an apartment, get a car loan, a mortgage, or even land some jobs without a respectable score. The basic requirements for us to live are defined by our financial attractiveness. These requirements are determined and monitored by financial giants but what happens when they fail to secure our information?

Equifax finally agreed to pay $700 million after the 2017 breach that affected 147 million consumers credit profiles. In order to make it right, they are offering any one who’s name was involved in the breach $125 or free credit monitoring for up to ten years. People impacted by the breach who spent time disputing and trying to repair damage because of it are eligible for up to $20,000. This seems like a fair enough settlement, but in reality it isn’t nearly enough.

Capital One also experienced a breach in security this week when a woman accessed over 100 million credit applications and was able to retrieve 140,000 social security and bank account numbers. She has since been apprehended but the damage from this breach remains to be seen. Sensitive information is sold on the dark web to scammers every day, leaving people vulnerable and helpless.

Corporations like Equifax and major banks like Capital One are billion dollar entities operating at the highest level. It seems unfathomable that they are capable of being hacked. Does $125 seem like enough for what could be a life time of problems? Sensitive information such as birthdays and social security numbers do not change and can easily be sold off to the highest bidder by another hacker ten years down the road.

Banks are required to cover up to $250,000 that has been deposited in the form of checking account, savings account, money market account or a certificate of deposit. These measures were taken by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation during the Great Depression to restore faith in the banking industry.

A regulation overhaul like the one by the FDIC is needed to ensure that large financial institutions that deal with sensitive data, maintain and put forth tremendous effort to secure this data, so it can not be stolen. As of yet, the government hasn’t established strict cyber security laws to protect consumers. At most, a company will be fined in the event of a breach but strict preventive measures aren’t necessarily being enforced.

In this digital age it is evident that hackers are becoming more savvy and knowledgeable than the current technology. The government must remain diligent in founding applicable laws to keep up with rapidly changing technology. It’s a shame that the corporations that determine the requirements needed to live a comfortable life, cannot put forth the proper protections to allow consumers to use their services.