Stephen Colbert goes after Atlanta’s Equifax

This was posted on Friday, September 22, 2017 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk

It’s hard to imagine a company getting beat up now more than Atlanta-based credit reporting company Equifax after it revealed it had been severely hacked.

Stephen Colbert grabbed his gloves and pummeled Equifax a bit more on Thursday night on his late-night show on CBS.

Hackers accessed more than 143 million people’s personal information this past summer and the company has been attempting to clean up the mess ever since.

He opened by noting that he wanted to get away from politics and “be hysterically depressed about something else.”

Since half the U.S. population was hacked, he said to the audience, “If you turn to the person next to you, that might be you again!”

He noted that Equifax waited five weeks to inform the world of the hack and joked that this is like you calling 911 five weeks late about a bloody car accident. “How do you get dried blood out of your upholstery?” he joked.

“That is horrendous,” he added, noting that there was a previous hack probably by the same intruders five months earlier. “Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, I am you because I stole your identity.”

The Senate is calling on the SEC to investigate three Equifax managers who sold company stock before the cyberhack was revealed. He said this is comparable to airline pilots who tellcustomers on the plane that as the mountains are rapidly approaching, they are going to test out the parachutes themselves.

You can freeze your credit but Equifax at first tried to charge people for the privilege. “They made you pay them to protect you from them,” he said. “That’s not a credit rating agency. That’s the mafia!”

Equifax set up a separate website for people to learn about the situation but mischievous bad guys set up similar websites to fool people. Then Equifax referred to the wrong website at one point. “So then Equifax sent an apology… please be cautious of visiting other websites claiming to be operated by Equifax. Plus be really cautious of websites that are operated by Equifax.”

Then he noted that Equifax is trying to stop people from using litigation to sue them. “Our right to sue is what makes us American,” he said. “It’s  up there with freedom of speech and the right to substitute onion rings with salad. What are onion rings but fried salad!”

He noted that Equifax’s customers are not you but the companies that buy your information to sell you stuff. We are like factory-farmed chickens who get free birdseed but what are those whirling blades and hook?

Colbert then posted a fake commercial for a company suggesting a way to get around the credit rating agencies: living like Ted Kaczynski in the woods.


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