An Everett woman’s personal information was stolen, sold and used across the country after the Equifax data breach. Her near perfect credit score is falling, while scammers continue their attack on her accounts.
“I was just shocked, how was this possible,” said Kellie Kraus of Everett.
Kraus has had her identity stolen a dozen times.
It started this summer, after Equifax suffered its massive breach. Now her information is up for sale to scammers and thieves on the dark web.
“It’s scary. It’s like what am I going to find next? What has someone done next? My information has been scattered all over the United States,” said Kraus.
Identity thieves have used Kraus’s stolen information for vet bills in Washington, car rental charges in Missouri and Florida, an attempted car purchase in Texas and for auto repairs in Indiana.
“And that’s how I knew about some of them, just by getting the cards in the mail and some of them already had charges on them,” said Kraus.
Here’s another issue, Kraus had a credit score well over 800. It’s gone down every month since her information was stolen.
Now she’s looking for work which creates another issue. I asked Kraus if she is afraid it will affect her ability to get a job, “some employers do check credit in the background, and that makes me angry,” said Kraus.
“It’s turned their lives inside and out, and emotionally inside and out,” said Catherine Fleming.
Fleming is a lawyer who has filed a class action suit against Equifax.
“We’ve already seen that these companies cannot be trusted with our most sensitive information. We need to be the ones who are in control of our personal information,” said Flemming.
That’s why there should be free credit freezes for all.
Kraus was forced to pay $30 to freeze her credit with the three credit agencies.
She wants to have the responsibility to protect her own credit and not leave it up to the corporations.
I asked Kraus is she thinks credit freezes should be free, “absolutely, it’s so important for individual’s future. It’s something that can impact people,” said Kraus.
I’ve reached out to state legislators about free credit freezes for all. Republican State Representative Paul Graves of Fall City and Democrat Zack Hudgins have written bills. My next goal is to get bi-partisan legislation.