If you had an ECMC loan and have been affected, students should now rise up and give specific examples of how they were affected. We recognize in the short term that there probably hasn't been many incidences of a monetary nature where we can state specific damages. However, to us, that is not the real problem at hand. Sometimes "identity-theft" can take years to quantify as to whether or not one has or will be directly affected. Often times we do not know for it is extremely difficult to identify who caused a theft in one's identity and to measure it until an actual theft has occurred.
Our concern is what can be done if the ECMC files were actually duplicated or compromised!
That's the hub of the dilemma and potential problem. What ECMC is offering for restitution, namely one free year of "Triple Fraud-Alert" is grossly inadequate. Here they say they will notify you if your credit is affected by someone other than you. This does not include a complete report by all three credit reporting agencies. Further, they do not address at all, the insurmountable cost that we, students, will have to incur if our identities are stolen.
You have to understand that ECMC will not have to bare the initial cost to recapture one's identity. That has to be bourn by the individual student. Further, "Identity-Theft" can have many ramifications. Yes, there are the monetary damages. But equally important is the exposure of one's highly sensitive personal information which can be used both here and abroad.
Now, let's take a very specific example: I take your personal data - credit information and fabricate a new document with your identity, like problems occur. Let's also take the 911 Terrorists incident where people were forced off airplanes and were humbled with embarrassment because there had "identity-similarities." How would ECMC like to walk in their shoes? Equally important is that it is impossible to trace who caused the "identity-similarity."
Another example, let us take the international-traveler coming through Customs where you are detained for some unwarranted incident. And of course, publicly embarrassed and psychologically terrified. How do you measure that cost?
In the meantime, ECMC is off the hook, leaving you, the student, left holding-the-bag. In my opinion as an expert in this area, there needs to be instant restitution!
Now, what is the solution? Here's a 6-point Restitution Program:
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We are in a world filled with Terrorism and as such, it is extremely important to protect one's identity. How would you like to be compromised in a terror-related incident? JUST THINK ABOUT THAT.....
"As a student after learning of the ECMC theft, I have spent countless hours doing research - both on the Internet and telephone trying to decipher just where I stand in all of this mess. This has taken untold amounts of my energy, time and COST trying to protect myself. I cannot begin to even comprehend what I could endure in the near or distant future if indeed my identity was stolen, especially the effects that this could have in my elderly years. Will I have the energy and resources to turn my life around then due to the real possibility that my personal information was stolen at ECMC? Can I take that risk? I fear not! I cannot and will not go on "as an ECMC's maybe!"
Are you aware that if all of us students took up the ECMC's 1-year free credit report monitoring program, what it will cost us as a group over the additional nine years of coverage Well, you do the math!!!!
If we were to quantify our situation at hand:
ECMC offers a free "Triple-Fraud Credit Alert" for an entire year. Example below taken from FREECREDITREPORT.COM:
Find peace of mind with your FREE Credit Score!
Where millions of consumers just like you come to check their free credit score every hour, every minute, every second of every day. CreditReport.com offers the fastest, most reliable and secure credit data available. Serving America since 1998. The recognized leader. The consumers choice.
By ordering your free score, you will begin a 7-day free trial of 3-bureau credit monitoring and score tracking. You will receive email alerts whenever there is a significant change to your credit reports or score. After the free trial you will be billed a $14.95 monthly membership fee. You may cancel at any time. There is no obligation.
Stay protected with our state-of-the-art credit monitoring tools. Remember, monitoring your credit means improving your financial well-being. For your protection we must verify your identity before providing your free credit score.
Under Triple Alert - same monthly price and here's what you get:
The Triple Alert Program
Key features included:
The math is quite simple after the "Free" offer expires and we have to continue "Looking over our shoulders" to protect ourselves:
$14.95 x 12 months x 9 additional years - not covered but, with your paid coverage,
x 3.3 million students = $5,328,180,000
Why would you have to pay a credit-monitoring agency for 10+ years? Because it takes 10 years to refresh itself to remove any negative points!
PLUS, take the current economic climate where we are ALL struggling - - - - - Do you really want to insure such a wasted cost, personally?
WHAT A BOOM for the credit reporting industry, from us - the students! You Must Speak Out!
What we are seeing now is ECMC's "INTENT versus NEGLIGENCE." They are trying to justify negligence which is the primary element in building a "Restitution Case" where you have indefinable potential risk. It is very difficult to prove damages on the onset. However, in the long-term this self-quantifies itself!
Be really on top of yourself. You might have to pay untold amounts of money annually to protect yourself, only to add untold responsibilities to an already hectic life. ECMC has their "escape-clause." We the student have none!
JOIN US IN THE FIGHT!
BRUCE W. BARREN - www.emcohanover.com
MONIQUE F. LIS