Equifax data breach impacts nearly half the U.S.; registering for free monitoring may harm civil legal rights

UPDATE: Under pressure from public interest groups Equifax backs away from arbitration clause. 

A massive cyber security breach at Equifax, one of the three major U.S. credit bureaus, compromised sensitive, personal information for as many as 143 million Americans, the company announced Sept. 7, 2017. 

Some residents in the U.K. and Canada were also affected, in addition to those in the United States. Hackers reportedly took advantage of a vulnerability on the company’s website, gaining access to credit card numbers, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and other data. The breach, which potentially affects nearly half of the country, places those who had information stolen at risk for identity theft and other cybercrimes.  

Equifax discovered the breach on July 29 and said it occurred between mid-May and July. 

Motley Rice attorneys are reviewing the breach, the extent of harm caused, and how it could have been avoided. Motley Rice consumer fraud attorney Jodi Westbrook Flowers has experience representing people whose personal information has been breached and holds a leadership position as co-liaison counsel of the 21st Century Oncology data breach litigation Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee. 

If you register for free monitoring offered by Equifax, you may waive your right to a jury trial or class action as the agreement contains an arbitration clause. 

More info:

The New York Times - Equifax’s Instructions Are Confusing. Here’s What to Do Now. https://nyti.ms/2xUP4Kb