Relics of pre-digital identity

Not only has credit bureau Equifax dropped the ball on keeping your identity safe, but now to add insult to injury, the IRS has announced it’s placing a $7.5 million dollar order “for third party data services from Equifax to verify taxpayer identity and to assist in ongoing identity verification and validations.”

Of all the companies the IRS should trust with taxpayer identity information, you’d think Equifax would be at the bottom of the list, not at the top. What’s going on here?

Relics of pre-digital identity

Relics of pre-digital identity

Who ‘Owns’ Your Identity, Anyway?

If you’ve applied for a bank account, credit card, or car loan over the last few years, especially if you have done so online, you’ve run into the service that the IRS wants to purchase from Equifax.

Remember the step in the application process where the site presents a multiple-choice quiz about past addresses or who financed your last car or some such? That’s an identity verification service that Equifax or one of the other two credit bureaus provides to lenders and others.

In addition to the elephant in the room – that Equifax’s security practices mean it can’t be trusted with our identities whatsoever – this identity verification service has multiple other flaws.

People forget old addresses and car payment amounts. Much of the information the credit bureaus maintain is inaccurate. And one I’ve run into myself – in many cases, the questions are about someone else entirely (in my case, half the questions are invariably about my ex-wife, whom I divorced a decade ago.)

There’s got to be a better way of protecting consumers’ identities while still verifying information about us for bona fide purposes.

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Intellyx publishes the Agile Digital Transformation Roadmap poster, advises companies on their digital transformation initiatives, and helps vendors communicate their agility stories. As of the time of writing, none of the organizations mentioned in this article are Intellyx customers. Image credit: Baigal Byamba.

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