Custom Search

September 08, 2017

Equifax Data Breach Puts 143 Million Consumers at Risk

On July 29 (yes, nearly two months ago), Equifax discovered that it had suffered a data breach between mid-May and July.  The massive data breach exposed the personal identifiers of approximately 143 million Americans.  That means approximately half of the population of the United States just became even more likely to have their identities stolen.

The information that Equifax allowed to be stolen is the holy grail for identity thieves.  The names, Social Security numbers, dates of birth, addresses and, in some cases, driver's license numbers of 143 million Americans were pilfered from Equifax.  Even worse, Equifax sat on this information for nearly two months before alerting the public of Equifax's malfeasance putting them at risk.

Equifax is one of the last companies that should allow something like this to happen.  Equifax chose to enter the business of collected and disseminating the most private of information on nearly all Americans.  Equifax's credit reports are used nationwide for obtaining home loans, car loans, credit cards, bank loans and lines of credit.

Equifax's credit reports are used by many employers to decide whether to hire someone, particularly if there is any responsibility for financial accounts involved in the job description.

Equifax's credit reports are used by government agencies to determine whether you can have or keep a security clearance.  I have had many clients lose their security clearances (and thus their jobs) due to Equifax reporting erroneous information about them and the willfully refusing to correct the errors.

Equifax's credit reports are used by insurance companies to determine if you qualify for car insurance and homeowner's insurance.  And, if you do qualify, you may find that your premiums are higher because of the contents of your Equifax credit report.

Now, all of that uber sensitive information entrusted to Equifax (not that the consumer is given an option) has been exposed to identity thieves and hackers and is no doubt going to be sold on the dark web and used to victimize consumers across the country.

But what is even worse than Equifax allowing this tragedy to happen and then keeping its misdeeds secret for nearly two months?  Now, Equifax is offering free identity theft protection and credit monitoring to the victims of its data breach.  Sounds good, right?  Wrong!  Included in the sign up for that "free" identity theft protection are arbitration clauses that take away your rights to sue Equifax for the damage its data breach causes you.

When my wife woke me up this morning at 2:00 a.m. when she read about the Equifax data breach and then told me that Equifax was offering free credit monitoring and identity theft protection, I mumbled in my half awake state "do not sign up for it, they'll  have something bad in the fine print". How did I know this?  Well, for one, I have been suing Equifax for consumers they have wronged for nearly 18 years now.  Second, Equifax has done this type stuff before.  For instance, consumers are entitled under the Fair Credit Reporting Act to one free credit report per year.  But Equifax thought it right to make consumers agree to give up their right to a lawsuit to be able to exercise their right to a free credit report.  So Equifax stuck some arbitration language in the fine print of anyone accessing their free credit report online.  I warned you about this all the way back in 2009 -  So it was no surprise that they would pull something like this again, especially since they are the root cause of the problem this time.

So, if Equifax's data breach causes your identity to be stolen which then causes your life to become a financial hell when your legitimate credit cards get closed, you lose your job and your home and auto insurance and then, due to the stress of it all, your health goes kaput, Equifax skates by free and clear because your only option is to bring an arbitration proceeding to be decided by Equifax's arbiter. Talking about heaping injustice on top of tragedy!

So, whatever you do, do not sign up for Equifax's "free" monitoring or identity theft protection.  To do so will cause irreparable harm to any potential lawsuit you may have if, God forbid, Equifax's data breach leads to theft of your identity.  And, if you do become the victim of identity theft, contact the Kittell Law Firm at 662-298-3456 or at  I will sue Equifax in any jurisdiction in the United States for any victim of identity theft whose credit report is damaged as a result of Equifax's data breach provided that you have not agreed to throw your rights away by falling for Equifax's trap of "free" credit monitoring.

No comments:

Post a Comment