On September 7, 2017, credit reporting company Equifax announced that a breach in security over the summer compromised the personal data and information of millions of Americans. While it is unclear who accessed the information, the available data included names, birthdates, and Social Security numbers.
Naturally, many of the 143 million people affected are angry the company failed to protect their private personal information. Dozens have taken legal action against Equifax, and experts expect thousands of others to join them. If you are curious about your options for compensation, an Equifax data breach lawsuit lawyer can help.
Call Gacovino, Lake & Associates, P.C. today at 631-600-0000 to get started. We are ready to help our clients hold Equifax responsible for its inexcusable actions.
How Did Equifax Fail to Protect the Personal Data of Millions of Americans?
There are three major credit reporting agencies in the United States. As one of these agencies, the public trusted Equifax to collect and protect their identifying information as well as private financial details. When the company announced the breach on September 7, that trust was lost. Even worse, Equifax executives admitted they discovered the breach in cybersecurity more than a month earlier, on July 29.
This breach affected the information of almost one out of every two adults across the country, and the company hid it from these victims for almost 40 days. Angry victims whose information Equifax jeopardized are claiming three main failures on the part of the credit reporting firm:
- It did not have adequate cybersecurity procedures and protocols to protect personal data.
- It failed to provide immediate notice of the breach to all affected users.
- It offered only partial information and explanation when disclosing the breach.
Why Is This Type of Data Breach So Dangerous?
Because of its position as a major credit reporting agency, Equifax collected and kept the personal data of millions of Americans. This was not just names or email addresses. The very nature of this data makes this breach a serious problem. Names, birthdates, and Social Security numbers in the hands of hackers and scammers could cost individuals hundreds of thousands of dollars.
With this information, nefarious individuals can effectively steal someone else’s identify. They can open a bank account or credit card in your name, or rent an apartment. They may be able to take out a loan based on your credit, or even buy a car or home. At the same time, this will negatively affect your credit and your ability to do these things.
So far, there have not been any significant reports of widespread identity theft or other use of the compromised information tied to the breach. However, this could change at any time. Anyone this breach affected must monitor her credit closely and guard against identify theft for the next several years.
Equifax offered a free year of credit monitors and waived all fees associated with freezing credit records, but this is simply too little too late for many. The cavalier attitude the company had toward the personal data of millions of people paired with the failure to notify the public of the breach immediately requires more drastic action.
What Is the Status of Legal Action Against Equifax?
In the short time since Equifax disclosed the data breach, dozens of individuals have filed lawsuits against the credit reporting agency. San Francisco’s city attorney also filed a suit on behalf of all affected California residents. This could include as many as 15 million people. Other cities and states across the country could follow.
These suits allege the company not only failed to protect personal and significant data, but also exacerbated the situation by delaying the disclosure of the breach. This prevented the victims from taking prompt action to protect their personal information, credit score, and financial investments.
Those who filed suits ask for a number of remedies. This includes:
- Civil penalties for each individual violation
- Reimbursement for any losses, and other related expenses
While it is still very early in the process, we can expect the courts to approve a nationwide class in this case. This is the first step in a class action suit, which is the most common and easiest way to handle a case with so many potential claimants. A class action suit would allow millions to benefit from the work of a few who take this firm to court and argue for restitution and civil penalties, among other remedies.
All members of the class nationwide would receive notification about the case, and have the option to participate. Unless they opt out, they would receive their portion of the payout awarded by the court at the conclusion of the case.
Depending on the facts of your case, we may opt to litigate your case outside the class as a named plaintiff. This may be the best route if we can prove the breach led to significant personal financial losses, a scammer stole your identity because of the breach, or another significant impact on your financial or emotional well-being.
How Can I Talk to an Equifax Data Breach Lawsuit Lawyer About My Situation?
The best way to learn more about your options to hold Equifax liable for its negligence is to give us a call. We can analyze your situation, help you understand the potential impacts of this data breach on your financial health, and pursue compensation based on the facts of your case.
You can reach the team at Gacovino, Lake & Associates, P.C. by calling 631-600-0000 today. We offer free case evaluations and advice from our knowledgeable Equifax data breach lawsuit attorney.