Our attorneys are investigating claims that consumer credit reporting agency Equifax’s negligent cybersecurity measures resulted in 143 million Americans’ personal data being exposed by hackers, putting consumers at risk for identity theft, financial losses, and more.
If you suffered financial damages as a result of the Equifax data breach, our attorneys want to hear from you. Fill out this form on our page to find out if you’re eligible to participate in a class action lawsuit today.
The Information Revealed in the Equifax Data Breach
The Equifax data breach revealed a treasure trove of highly sensitive personal information for hackers, including:
- Social Security numbers
- Birth dates
- Driver’s licenses
The hackers made off with an additional 209,000 consumers’ credit card numbers. Some consumers also had their tax ID numbers and driver’s license states and issuance dates exposed, putting them at risk of fraudulent tax filings.
Update: 3/1/2018: Equifax announces that an additional 2.4 million Americans were affected by last year’s data breach, bringing the total number of people impacted up to approximately 147.9 million consumers.
The company claims that the additional people affected by the data breach only had their names and a partial driver’s license number stolen by hackers. Previous consumers affected had their Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers, tax ID numbers, and other highly sensitive data exposed.
The Equifax Data Breach Timeline:
Equifax has been criticized by consumer advocates, lawyers, and government officials alike for the length of time it took the company to publicly reveal the data breach. This gave cybercriminals weeks of unfettered access to the information before victims knew they were at risk.
Here are the series of events that took place before, during, and after Equifax announced its data breach:
Mid-May, 2017: Hackers gain unauthorized access to Equifax’s consumer data.
Late-July, 2017: Equifax discovers that hackers have infiltrated company servers and gained access to the consumer information of 143 million Americans.
Sept. 7, 2017: Equifax publicly announces the data breach. Morgan & Morgan attorney John Yanchunis files a class action against credit bureau Equifax.
Sept. 12, 2017: Equifax CEO Richard Smith issues an apology to the public in a USA Today op-ed, calling the breach “the most humbling moment in our 118-year history.”
Sept. 26, 2017: Equifax CEO Richard Smith announces his retirement “effective immediately,” weeks after the company revealed the massive data breach.
Feb. 11, 2018: Documents submitted to Congress reveal that the data stolen in Equifax data breach also included tax identification numbers and driver’s license states and issuance dates.
March 1, 2018: Equifax announces that an additional 2.4 million Americans were affected by last year’s data breach. Approximately 147.9 million consumers were impacted by the Equifax data breach.
Equifax Data Breach Was Completely Preventable, Experts Say
The consumer credit reporting agency came under additional fire in the weeks after the breach was announced for allegedly flawed cybersecurity measures that allowed hackers easy access to sensitive consumer data.
Cybersecurity experts discovered that Equifax failed to install a patch in March, allowing hackers to exploit a vulnerability in the system in May, according to tech publication WIRED. Shortly after, former Equifax CEO Richard Smith confirmed that hackers took advantage of this unpatched vulnerability.
“The vulnerability remained in an Equifax web application much longer than it should have,” Smith said in a written testimony. “It was this unpatched vulnerability that allowed hackers to access personal identifying information.”
Because the company’s IT team neglected to follow cybersecurity standards and install a patch for a two-month-old bug — despite being alerted to the bug’s existence — 143 million Americans’ personal information was put at jeopardy.
What Could Hackers Do With My Data?
Unlike many previous data breaches, which revealed email addresses or passwords, the data leaked in the Equifax breach included highly sensitive personal identifying information.
This allows hackers to not only use your credit cards to make purchases, but to steal your identity and even open up bank accounts and credit cards in your name. And because some of the data, like Social Security numbers, don’t change, criminals can sell this information on the black market in the future.
This can have lasting consequences on a victim’s credit score and finances. Now, people are scrambling to freeze their credit and file credit reports in case their data happened to fall in the wrong hands, according to consumer complaints.
As a result of the sheer amount of sensitive data revealed to potential cybercriminals, as well as the company’s negligence in protecting consumer information and disclosing the data breach in a timely manner, many consider the Equifax data breach to be the worst in our country’s history.
What Should I Do If I Suspect Suspicious Financial Activity?
If you suffered financial damages due to the recent Equifax data breach, our attorneys would like to hear from you.
You may be able to participate in a class action lawsuit to recover compensation for your financial losses and out-of-pocket costs for identity theft protection, as well as hold Equifax responsible for their alleged careless handling of millions of Americans’ personal information.
Fill out our free, no-risk case evaluation form to see if you’re eligible to participate in a class action lawsuit today.