Equifax Problem Solved

My recent Equifax problems have now been resolved. Writing to the customer service email address from an old email actually got a response. The response wasn’t terribly useful; basically they said (paraphrased) “We’re not going to say anything helpful on insecure email, but you can call us at the number below for help.” Before I called them, I pulled up their website and made one more attempt to log in. And wonders of wonders, my old username and password worked just fine this time, and my free credit report was sitting right there waiting for me to click on it. So either they unwedged my account, or they had database problems over the holidays.

For reference, here’s how to contact Equifax consumer products customer service:

Email: Customer.Care@equifax.com
Phone: 1-866-640-CARE (1-866-640-2273) Monday through Friday 8am – 3am EST

In The News

The alleged Karl Rove treason is getting mixed coverage, but it did make it to the Front Page of the Taipei Times today, so I guess I was somewhat overly pessimistic in my claims that it probably wouldn’t make the front page. Anyone care to comment on where it was placed in your hometown newspaper? Elsewhere, an article by Ted Rall makes the claim KARL ROVE: WORSE THAN OSAMA BIN LADEN while the jokers over at Unconfirmed Sources cover the story in Karl Rove Awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom For Defending Identity of Valerie Plame.

United Church of Christ votes to endorse gay marriage

I was brought up going to United Church of Christ churches, so I’m especially happy about this vote.

And finally, in a Taipei Times editorial Call a spade a spade, Brian Schack writes a very funny letter in reaction to the Dennis Hickey editorial I wrote about here a few days ago. It doesn’t take much following of Taiwan-China affairs to notice the things he lampoons.

Time Flies When Having Fun

Had plans for lunch with Miltownkid at Subway today. He dragged along Wally and a while later Jennifer showed up too. We hung out a bit at Caves Books for a while and then I took off to my wife’s shop to pick up my Battlestar Galactica and Firefly DVDs which arrived today. My wife asked me if I wanted to go pick up Emily from school and I asked, “Isn’t it a bit early for that?” Then I looked at my watch and saw it was 4pm. How did three and a half hours just disappear like that?

Valerie Plame

A couple of years back, it was revealed in press reports that Valerie Plame was a CIA agent. This was reportedly leaked by a top White House official, and was presumably in retaliation for Plame’s husband publishing an editorial debunking the reports that Iraq was buying uranium in Africa.

The identity of CIA agents is carefully kept secret, to protect not only themselves but also the sources that they may be in contact with. Revealing the identity of a CIA agent means that not only is their career finished, but that anyone they may have had contact with in tyrannical overseas countries is jeopardized. Those people may even be executed. It is therefore strictly illegal to reveal their identities, and it is considered treason to do so. The penalty for treason includes capital punishment. This is serious business!

Despite this, the CIA outing has not been given a lot of media attention. The most recent coverage has focused on the Supreme Court decision that reporters can be held for contempt for not revealing sources in this case. Now that they are actually facing jail time, rumors have been swirling whether or not they will hand over their notes.

Earlier on Saturday the dam finally broke, and now multiple reports are pointing at presidential adviser Karl Rove as the source of the leak. Already the spin has begun with Rove’s lawyer denying the claims. It’s interesting to note that he needs his lawyer to do the denying. And exactly how likely is it that someone as connected as Rove will actually face treason charges, especially when this story is still getting mediocre press coverage? This should be the headline in Sunday’s papers, but I’m skeptical it will be.

Note to Democrats: This is the time to stop being disorganized pansies. Get out there in front of the press day after day repeating over and over again that this is treason and that Rove needs to be investigated and charged. The Republicans got Clinton to face impeachment over a blowjob for one reason: They were out there in front of the press repeating the story endlessly. Everyone had the same message. They did not stop repeating the message until they got results. Easy formula, but you guys have spent the last 4+ years gazing at your navels instead of doing anything in any coordinated fashion. Get out there and pound this message home.

If not, this issue will die, with the culprit getting off with no penalty.

Equifax Customer Service Sucks

UPDATE: Problem resolved! For more, and Equifax contact information please see here: http://blog.jameslick.com/?p=560

I went over to the Annual Credit Report web page to get my current US credit reports. The process was surprisingly painless for the first two, Trans Union and Experian. When I got to Equifax, everything went smoothly up to the point where I got my order confirmation and transaction code. Despite the order having been confirmed, clicking on the ‘view my product’ link resulted in a page saying that they were sorry I was having problems logging in and telling me to log in again.

They didn’t ask for or give me a username and password when ordering, but I have an Equifax login from previous orders, so I dug them up and tried them, but was told that the username or password are invalid. No problem; they have a password recovery link there. I give it the required information and get back: System Error. Lather, rinse, repeat. Same problem multiple times, even the next day.

Next stop would be customer service. Unfortunately, Equifax makes it approximately impossible to contact them by phone or online. They tell you to login to your account to contact them, which doesn’t do a bit of good if you can’t log in. All of their publicly posted phone numbers are for “automated systems”, and hitting 0 does not get to an operator. Googling for a contact number didn’t help either. I found a customer service number in an old email, but it has been disconnected. That email also had a customer service email address which I sent a request off to. We’ll see if that results in anything. If not, the only remaining option is to contact them by writing to a PO Box.

It’s really annoying when companies put up walls like this that make it nearly impossible to contact them for any reason, not to mention having such flaky systems that you have to contact them to get anything done.

If you haven’t already ordered your free credit reports (available to all but north-east states currently), go over and get copies through the above site. It’s a good idea to review your credit reports once a year, and work on correcting any negative items. Unless you are going to take out a large loan soon (house, car, etc.), don’t bother paying extra for credit scores. And let me know if you have any difficulty with Equifax too.

UPDATE: Problem resolved! For more, and Equifax contact information please see here: http://blog.jameslick.com/?p=560

Saving Paper

Even though paper is fairly cheap, I still have somewhat of an obsession to not waste paper. Unfortunately double sided printing is usually not something done in inexpensive laser printers. I had previously worked out a fairly good method for doing double sided printing on my printer:

1) Print out all pages selecting “odd pages only”

2) Put the printed sheets back in the printer the other way around (omit the last page if the document ends on an odd numbered page)

3) Print out all pages selecting “even pages only” and “reverse page order”

I recently discovered that my printer driver has n-up printing. n-up printing is where multiple pages are printed on one sheet of paper. For example, 2-up puts two pages side by side on one sheet. For most documents, printing 2-up is still very readable. For presentation (powerpoint) materials 6-up usually works well, or 4-up if it uses smaller fonts.

But unfortunately, using n-up printing is not compatible with the above double sided printing trick. You’d need an “every other pair of pages” option in there, and no application has that. Which means that if you print 2-up single sided, you aren’t saving paper versus 1-up double sided, just reducing the hassle.

I was searching google on tools to automate both n-up and double sided printing together, but one of the first sites I came across had the simplest solution:

1) Take all the paper out of the printer

2) Print your entire document

3) Insert one sheet

4) Flip the sheet and insert again

5) Unless done, return to step three.

It’s a bit more labor intensive, but since you’re getting 4 pages on each sheet, it goes fairly quickly. This exercise was all to be able to print out a 99 page document using only 25 sheets of paper.

This is one of those solutions that seems completely obvious after the fact.