Equifax has decided not to anger 143 million Americans any further by charging them to protect themselves from its massive data breach. The credit-monitoring company, facing a flood of complaints about its handling of the breach, bowed to public pressure Tuesday and said it would drop fees until Nov. 21 for people seeking to freeze their credit reports, the New York Times reports. Experts have suggested that people affected by the breach consider freezing their credit files, which would prevent thieves from using stolen information to get loans and credit cards in their names, the AP reports. Consumers have also been advised to closely monitor their credit reports for a long time to come.
A class-action lawsuit was filed against Equifax last week after the breach became public. Authorities in states including Massachusetts also plan to sue the company over what analysts say could be the worst leak of personal information ever. Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey says the breach "may be the most brazen failure to protect consumer data" that her office has ever dealt with. Sen. Dick Durbin, the second highest-ranking Democrat in the Senate, tells Bloomberg that the breach is "exhibit A" in the case for stronger regulation and higher fines for companies that mishandle consumers' personal information. (Three Equifax execs sold stock days after the breach was discovered.)