The scenario that personal finance and credit experts feared most about the heist of consumer data from Equifax breach may already be underway: Criminals are using the stolen information to apply for mortgages, credit cards, student loans, tapping into bank debit accounts, filing insurance claims and racking up substantial debts, according to a major new class-action suit.
Equifax breachÂ suit pulls together dozens of individual complaints from consumers in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia and suggests that cyber criminals arenâ€™t wasting time using the Social Security numbers, credit card accounts, driverâ€™s license numbers and other sensitive personal information they siphoned out of the credit bureauâ€™s reputedly secure databases on 145.5 million Americans.
How might this giant class-action suit affect you? If you own a home, have a mortgage or received information from Equifax that your files were accessed, you are likely part of the class. You neednâ€™t do anything to join. Keep in mind though: the case may sound like a slam dunk, but it might not be. Lawyers will need to demonstrate a link between plaintiffsâ€™ claims of identity theft and the Equifax breach itself, which may be challenging to prove.
In the meantime, remember that itâ€™s not too late for you to get defensive. If youâ€™re like the vast majority of consumers who have not yet placed freezes on their files at Equifax, Experian, TransUnion and Innovis, consider doing so now. For information on how to proceed, go to https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0497-credit-freeze-faqs