Citing irresponsibility in the actions taken by Equifax after a massive security breach, a Maryland Law Firm has filed a lawsuit against the credit agency.

Last week the credit agency Equifax revealed that hackers had gained access to the personal information of up to 143 million U.S. consumers. This includes Social Security numbers, addresses, birthdates, legal names and possibly even credit card and account numbers of those affected may have fallen into the wrong hands because of the breach. Baltimore law firm Murphy, Falcon & Murphy has filed a class action lawsuit against the agency and is seeking class action status for the case in the state of Maryland as well as nationwide. The law firm filed the suit on the basis of what it has deemed Equifax’s irresponsibility in reporting the matter to the public six weeks after the data breach happened. Murphy, Falcon & Murphy have joined numerous other firms in other states in seeking punitive damages for plaintiffs and are seeking a $500 compensation per plaintiff in a jury trial. The class action claims Equifax knew of the breach as of July 29 and hired a cybersecurity firm to determine its scale, while also selling shares of stock valued at $1.8 million as a way of cutting potential financial losses. The law firm claims Equifax acted in its own self-interest while the personal and sensitive financial data of millions of Americans was compromised.
Fortunately for Equifax, only the consumers impacted by the breach can be included in the lawsuit. They've setup a website where individuals can check if their credit information has been accessed by hackers. They're also offering free TrustedID Premier Service to all U.S. Consumers with a social security number, whether they have been impacted or not. TrustedID Premier is a credit file monitoring and identity theft protection service which includes five different services:
  • Free copies of Equifax Credit Reports
  • Credit File Monitoring by Equifax and the other two major credit agencies (Transunion and Experian)
  • Equifax Credit Report Lock -- allows consumers to prevent access to the agency’s credit reports by third parties
  • Social Security Number Monitoring
  • $1 Million Identity Theft Insurance -- covers out of pocket expenses in the event of identity theft
[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="337"]Equifax Photo Courtesy of the Mac Observor[/caption]
However, CNN has warned that by using the credit monitoring service, consumers may be giving up their right to sue. TrustedID Premier requires that the consumer agrees to submit any complaints to arbitration, effectually waiving their right to sue the agency, take part in a class action or receive any sort of compensation. To avoid this, all customers have to do is notify the agency (in writing) within 30 days of signing up for the service. Soon a federal court will appoint a litigation panel which will determine which state and courthouse will hear the case. A group of lawyers will be chosen from law firms that have filed class actions nationwide as the case proceeds. Whether you feel that you should be allowed to take part in the class action or not, the best course of action concerned consumers should take is freezing their credit profiles to prevent potential hacks in the immediate future.
Featured image courtesy of GoMN.

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