Recently news broke of a massive data breach from credit reporting company, Equifax, Inc. The breach included the personal information of millions of consumers and has opened Equifax to a host of legal problems in the coming years. While Congress continues to scale back consumer protections, major privacy leaks like this are even more cause for concern.
On July 29th, Equifax learned that an unauthorized user exploited a “U.S. website application vulnerability” to gain access to secure information from mid-May through July 2017.
Although the entire range of the breach is unclear, Equifax asserts that it has investigated the breach and found “no evidence of unauthorized activity on Equifax’s core consumer or commercial credit reporting databases.”
It is unknown the entirety of Equifax’s data collection. The company is a private firm that has built a name for itself on data collection from both public records and privately shared information.
Who is affected?
According to Equifax, as many as 142 million American consumers may be affected by the hack. The files accessed by the unauthorized users “primarily includes” names, dates of birth, SSNs, address histories and even, state driver’s license numbers. Credit card information for more than 200,000 Americans and “certain dispute documents with personal identifying information.”
According to reports, the Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating the data breach. It is unknown whether there will be any action taken by the Federal Trade Commission or Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. As far as consumer action goes, at least two class-action suits have been filed.
What can you do?
Put a freeze on your credit – Call each of the three major credit reporting companies (Equifax, Experian, TransUnion) and have them freeze any new lines of credit. This will prevent the information obtained by hackers from being used to open new accounts.
Closely monitor your financial records and credit reports. Report any suspicious activity to your financial institution.
Contact an attorney who is experienced in the Fair Credit and Reporting Act (FCRA) immediately. The law firm of Massey & Duffy, PLLC, has expertise in consumer law to help you protect your interests. Our firm has obtained favorable jury verdicts of over $3.5 million for plaintiffs for violations of the FCRA.
If you believe that you are a victim of negligent or willful violations by Equifax or other credit reporting agencies, you may call our office at (352) 505-8900 for a FREE CONSULTATION.