A Seattle lawyer filed a class action lawsuit against credit giant Equifax.
Just last week, the company confirmed it was hit with a massive data breach effecting 143 million people.
Seattle business owner Simon Kaufman is one of three Puget Sound plaintiffs. He said the company’s response to the breach is laughable.
“It’s angering, it’s maddening, you feel like you are getting tossed into a system that you never signed up for and it’s going to affect all of us,” said Kaufman.
Equifax is pushing people to its own company, Trusted ID, for 12 months of free credit monitoring.
“Trusted ID is a wholly owned subsidiary of Equifax. Equifax is profiting from their negligence. That is not ok. it’s an insult to try to offer a band aid for something that really needs surgery,” said Attorney Catherine Fleming.
Plaintiff, Jennifer Mertlich of Puyallup said she had her information stolen before, and the credit monitoring’s protection is limited.
“It’s not going to protect you from someone getting payday loans in your name, getting speeding tickets in your name, from someone opening bank accounts in your name all of those things are looked at in an entirely seperate level. Not just your credit report,” said Mertlich.
So here is what you should do.
Go to the Equifax website and see if you are impacted.
Check your credit report with other agencies.
You can also ask for a credit freeze, that means no one can pull your credit. It can cost up to $10 to freeze and then thaw.
Check specialty credit agencies like CheckSystems and FICO.
If you think someone has stolen your identity and has committed a crime, you can run a background check on yourself using the Washington State Patrol’s WATCH system. It is $12 for a state check and $38 for federal.
Bottom line, you must stay vigilant.
Equifax has apologized and is offering to freeze credit files for free, but the company is only monitoring your credit for a year. After that, it can start charging customers up to $100 a year for the service.