OMAHA, Nebraska. Many people still don’t have the information they need to protect themselves after Equifax announced on September 7th that hackers stole 143 million social security numbers and other personal information. According to the New York Times, the Equifax website offered little in the way of clear information and directed consumers to sign up for data protection services which could cost them money in the future and which would require consumers to sign away their right to sue the company in the future. One report even indicated that phishers looking to steal more personal information set up fake websites to gather personal data. In other cases, consumers were infuriated when they learned that they would need to pay in order to have their credit frozen.
So, what can consumers do to protect themselves? First, because it is impossible to know right now whether your information was compromised, your best bet is to freeze your credit. This will prevent thieves from using your information to open new accounts, but it will mean you will need to unfreeze your account when opening new credit cards, buying a home, or financing your next purchase. However, it offers an added layer of protection. You’ll have to freeze your credit with all three major credit reporting bureaus. Each bureau also offers services to protect your credit, but this can cost more money for a freeze. John Oliver, on Last Week Tonight, recently made a scathing report on the industry, exposing the credit bureau’s attempts to make more money off of consumers trying to protect themselves. Signing up for certain types of credit protection from the bureaus has other consequences. For instance, until recently, consumers who signed up for Equifax’s fraud prevention services gave up their right to sue the company.
So, how can you freeze your credit? Last Week Tonight’s pop-up website provides links to three of the major credit reporting agency’s freeze sites. As John Oliver noted, it can be difficult to find links to freeze your credit on these sites because credit reporters generally want to discourage the practice.
Some consumers have wondered whether they can file an injury lawsuit against Equifax if their data or information is found to be compromised. According to CNBC, some class-action lawsuits have already been filed, and if the data breach proves to be injurious, more may follow. After all, the data exposed can put a person at risk of identity theft for life. Once your identity has been stolen, it can be very difficult to undo the damage. It isn’t clear who would have the right to sue if a class action lawsuit were to go forward.
The consequences of Equifax’s data breach are serious. Rensch & Rensch Law are car accident, motorcycle, and personal injury lawyers in Omaha, Nebraska who are closely watching as the case unfolds. It is important to note that the breach can impact your ability to buy a car, buy a home, or seek credit. This breach could make victims of us all. If you’ve been injured due to another person or company’s negligence or neglect, you have rights. Visit us at https://www.renschandrensch.com/ to learn more.