Equifax Data Breach – Next Steps

By on September 12, 2017 in Current Events with 0 Comments

In this post, I’m going to share information on the Equifax breach, their credit monitoring service, opting-out of arbitration clauses, participating in a class action lawsuit, taking your own legal action, complaining to your state’s attorney general, requesting free copies of your credit report, and freezing your credit to help prevent identity theft.

I spent the morning accumulating data on the Equifax data breach and I’d like to share some important findings with all of you. As you probably know, Equifax was hacked a couple of months ago and this fact has only just been made public. Vital personally identifiable information on nearly 143 million Americans was compromised as a result of Equifax’s negligence. Equifax is a credit bureau that maintains massive amounts of data on you without your consent and they failed to properly secure that data. To make things better, Equifax executives sold off quite a bit of their stock before the news went public.

Because you can’t change things like your social security number, driver’s license number, etc., you are at risk of identity theft for years to come. The repercussions may very well be catastrophic. Thus, it’s important to protect yourself and your rights and refrain from simply brushing this off!

Equifax is currently offering one free year of their “TrustedID Premier” credit monitoring service at EquifaxSecurity2017[dot]com. If you choose to sign up for this service, it’s important that you send Equifax a physical letter, within 30 days, by certified mail, that includes your name, address, and Equifax User ID, as well as “a clear statement that you do not wish to resolve disputes with Equifax through arbitration.” The “arbitration clause” is a broad clause designed to keep you from taking legal action against Equifax. After it was made public, Equifax said it would not apply to the breach and the New York State Attorney General said it would be unenforceable BUT it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Mail your opt-out letter to:
Equifax Consumer Services LLC, Attn.: Arbitration Opt-Out
P.O. Box 105496
Atlanta, GA 30348

(Fun Fact: These broad arbitration clauses are being phased out next year by federal regulators. Republicans, however, are trying to repeal that move and keep them in play. Something to think about.)

If you’re interested in participating in a class action lawsuit against Equifax, here’s one that was launched. You can visit the page and enter your information to ensure that you’re on their radar. There are other lawsuits being set into motion so feel free to Google it. Keep an eye on your mail over the next few weeks as you’ll receive class action lawsuit notices regardless of whether you’ve contacted an attorney.

Encourage your state’s Attorney General to investigate Equifax’s negligence by submitting a consumer complaint. If you’re from Pennsylvania, here’s the link. If you’re from another state, simply Google “ attorney general complaint form.” Let your leaders know that you are demanding action.

If you’re feeling particularly motivated, you can file your own lawsuit against Equifax in small claims court. You can have the paperwork automatically generated by this incredible bot. Only New York and California are listed right now but other states will be up in approximately 12 hours from the time of this post. You’ll have to serve the documents yourself, obviously.

Request copies of your credit report using AnnualCreditReport.comDO NOT use one of those “free credit report” sites you see on TV. ACR is the only federally-authorized website and you do not need to pay anything or sign up for any programs. Review your credit reports carefully and report any inconsistencies, inaccuracies, and anything suspicious.

Finally, consider freezing your credit reports. You’ll need to do this with each of the three bureaus and they’ll each charge a small fee. Here are the appropriate websites:

https://www.experian.com/freeze/center.html
https://www.transunion.com/credit-freeze/place-credit-freeze
https://www.freeze.equifax.com/Freeze/jsp/SFF_PersonalIDInfo.jsp

What IS a credit freeze? Take a look at these FAQs posted by the Federal Trade Commission. A credit freeze DOES NOT affect your credit score and your reports can be thawed if you end up looking to open a new line of credit.

Legal Disclaimer: No Advice: This website contains general information about legal matters. The information is not advice, and should not be treated as such. Limitation of Warranties: The legal information on this website is provided “as is” without any representations or warranties, express or implied. I make no representations or warranties in relation to the legal information on this website. Without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing paragraph, I do not warrant that: the legal information on this website will be constantly available, or available at all; or the legal information on this website is complete, true, accurate, up-to-date, or non-misleading. Professional Assistance: You must not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to legal advice from your attorney or other professional legal services provider. If you have any specific questions about any legal matter you should consult your attorney or other professional legal services provider. You should never delay seeking legal advice, disregard legal advice, or commence or discontinue any legal action because of information on this website. Liability: Nothing in this legal disclaimer will limit any of our liabilities in any way that is not permitted under applicable law, or exclude any of our liabilities that may not be excluded under applicable law.

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