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 Equifax Litigation   
EQUIFAX DATA BREACH LITIGATION

EQUIFAX DATA BREACH LITIGATION

 

What are the Consumer Plaintiffs’ Claims Against Equifax?

On Sept. 8, 2017, Equifax disclosed publically for the first time a cybersecurity incident, or “data breach,” potentially impacting approximately 143 million U.S. consumers.  The company acknowledged that unauthorized persons exploited a U.S. website application vulnerability to gain access to certain files.  Although it discovered the unauthorized access on July 29 2017, the company failed to inform the public why it delayed notification of the data breach to consumers. 

 

Why Are So Many People Impacted?

Equifax is one of three nationwide credit-reporting companies that track and rates the financial history and creditworthiness of U.S. consumers. The companies are supplied with data about loans, loan payments and credit cards, as well as information on everything from child support payments, credit limits, missed rent and utilities payments, addresses and employer history.  All this information, and more, factors into credit scores.

 

Potentially Compromised Data Types:

Equifax claims that (based on its investigation), the unauthorized access occurred from mid-May through July 2017.  The types of personal data potentially compromised includes names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver's license numbers.  In addition, Equifax has admitted that credit card numbers for approximately 209,000 U.S. consumers, and certain dispute documents with personal identifying information for approximately 182,000 U.S. consumers, were accessed. Personal data like this is a major score for cybercriminals who will likely look to capitalize on it by launching targeted phishing campaigns.

 

What BLG Is Doing:

When companies maintain lax and inadequate approaches to data security, the personally identifiable information of consumers becomes vulnerable.  Equifax has a duty to safeguard consumers’ personally identifiable information.  The Barnes Law Group has succeeded in obtaining relief for consumers in data-breach cases in the past, including a leading role in the recent Home Depot Data Breach Settlement.  The Barnes Law Group has already filed two actions against Equifax in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.  These suits seek to represent consumers whose personally identifiable information has been exposed due to apparent vulnerabilities in Equifax’s cybersecurity system. 

 

WHAT SHOULD I DO ABOUT THE EQUIFAX DATA BREACH?

         

Check Your Credit:

Regardless of whether your name shows up in Equifax’s list of potentially compromised customers (https://trustedidpremier.com/eligibility/eligibility.html) you should order your credit report from all three Credit Reporting Agencies and determine if you have had any unauthorized inquiries or any unauthorized credit accounts opened since May 1, 2017.

If someone tried to open credit in my name?

If someone else made an inquiry to your credit, or was successful in opening a credit account in your name after May 1, 2017, you should place an immediate temporary credit freeze on your credit.  Most states authorize this service for free.  You can also Google “free credit freeze in <<your state>>” for more information.  Be very careful who you provide your personal information to and satisfy yourself that the website you are using is legitimate.  NEVER give out banking/credit/debit card information for anything that is advertised as “free.”  If someone has tried to access your credit, or actually opened a credit account in your name, send us an email at info@barneslawgroup.com  or call our Equifax Litigation Information Line at 678-290-2274.  Make sure you include your name, address, contact information and a complete description of what happened.

Where Can I get information about starting a credit freeze?

Check out what Clark Howard says about obtaining a credit freeze.  http://clark.com/personal-finance-credit/credit-freeze-and-thaw-guide/. Website addresses for credit freeze information at the three main credit reporting agencies are available as follows:

 

Ø  https://www.freeze.equifax.com/Freeze/jsp/SFF_PersonalIDInfo.jsp

Ø  https://www.experian.com/freeze/center.html

Ø  https://www.transunion.com/credit-freeze/place-credit-freeze

 

Arbitration:  Did you waive your right to litigate damage claims in a court of law?

If you enrolled in Equifax’s free credit monitoring service, you have agreed to arbitrate your dispute.  This means you’ve allowed Equifax to pick the person who will decide whether anyone at Equifax has done anything wrong and how much they should pay.  Although Equifax has since said that this arbitration agreement does not apply to the data breach, if you want to make sure that Equifax will be held accountable for your damages in a court of law, you should immediately send the following letter: 

<<Date>>

Equifax Consumer Services, LLC

ATTN:  Arbitration Opt-Out

P.O. Box 105496

Atlanta, Georgia 30348

 

Re:  Arbitration Opt-Out Notice

<<Your Name and Address>>

To whom it may concern:

I hereby decline to accept mandatory binding arbitration for my dispute against Equifax related to the Equifax data breach and do not agree to waive my legal rights for any and all disputes, damages or causes of action related to the Equifax data breach, or any subsequent services or programs provided by Equifax.

 

Sincerely,

<<Your Name and Address>>        

           

So what happens next?

As a result of Equifax’s massive data breach, you can expect there will be litigation over the consequences.  We have already filed two nationwide cases in federal court, and are asking that all the cases filed throughout the country to be consolidated by the Joint Panel of Multidistrict Litigation.  Once consolidation occurs, we will ask the assigned judge to formally certify the case as a class action.  To participate in our litigation, you don’t need to do anything more.  Please check our website for future updates as this litigation continues.

 
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