More New Yorkers sue Equifax after data breach

Sep 12, 2017, 00:35
More New Yorkers sue Equifax after data breach

Names, social security numbers, birth dates, addresses and in some instances driving license numbers were stolen, as were credit card numbers for around 209,000 people and dispute documents with personal identifying information for approximately 182,000 United States consumers.

Companies struck by big data breaches usually bring in a small army of outside help long before notifying the public, including lawyers, public relations specialists and consultants adept at managing communications with regulators and law enforcement. "Equifax knew and should have known that failure to maintain adequate technological safeguards would eventually result in a massive data breach".

After news of the breach became public, it was revealed that three senior executives at Equifax, including the company's chief financial officer, sold nearly $2 million worth of the company's shares just days after it learned of the hack. Those are what John Ulzheimer, an independent credit consultant who previously worked at Equifax, called "the crown jewels of personal information". As it requires sharing the last six digits of your Social Security and your last name with a company that may have already lost that information, it may make some people queasy.

Consider freezing your credit.

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Equifax said it discovered the unauthorized access on July 29 and "acted immediately to stop the intrusion". "Because these credit agencies operate in the dark, they are allowed to be terribly unfair and unaccountable".

If you sign up for Equifax's offer of free protection, you may be limiting your rights to sue and be forced to take disputes to arbitration.

Then, request a copy of your credit report.

To get more specific, the two contracts represent wagers that Equifax's stock price - which closed at $123.23 on Friday - will fall to either $100 or $105, respectively, by October 20. The executives probably will avoid punishment because the company quickly put out a statement saying they were unaware of the breach. That's because, as one of three nationwide credit-reporting agencies, Equifax gets its data from credit card companies, banks, retailers and lenders - often without consumers knowing it. A freeze won't affect your credit score or report. Consumers calling the number Equifax set up complained of jammed phone lines and uninformed representatives, and initial responses from the website gave inconsistent responses. Credit bureaus like Equifax are lightly regulated compared to other parts of the financial system.

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Zafar said he noticed a flaw in the design of a site for consumers to check if they were impacted. Consumers affected by this breach will be provided with additional ways to view and monitor their credit files without charge, and the state recommends that consumers do so.

Doug White, a cybersecurity professor at Roger Williams University, said that type of data could be used to develop more sophisticated phishing emails and scams. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, in a statement.

Still, many Americans become identity theft victims every year simply because they represent the easiest targets.

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