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Chicago Equifax Data Breach Lawyers

Like hundreds of millions of consumers across the country, you may be worried that Equifax exposed your sensitive personal and financial information to identify thieves in the massive breach of its stored data. You may also be angry that the credit reporting company waited more than a month after it discovered the hack before it told the public, preventing you and other consumers from taking timely action.

As you move forward and address the breach’s impact on your life, you should know that you have the right to take legal action. To learn more, contact Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. today.

For more than 35 years, our law firm has protected the rights of consumers in Chicago and throughout Illinois and secured more than $1 billion in verdicts and settlements on behalf of our clients. We can provide a free review of your case and help you to explore all legal options available to you as the result of the Equifax credit hack.

Why Is the Equifax Credit Hack So Serious?

Cyber attacks on corporate websites have impacted millions of Americans in recent years. The 2013 Target security breach, for instance, compromised the data of 41 million consumers. However, no prior hack approaches the depth and scope of the Equifax data breach. It is, by far, the worst hack of consumer data in U.S. history.

Experian is one of the “big three” credit reporting companies, joining TransUnion and Experian. Over the years, the Atlanta-based company has collected the personal and financial data of hundreds of millions of Americans, including what one credit expert calls “the crown jewels of information” for identify thieves:

  • Names
  • Addresses
  • Birthdates
  • Social Security numbers
  • Driver’s license numbers
  • Credit card numbers.

As The Christian Science Monitor notes, when identity thieves have this information, they can “apply for credit cards, take out loans, and even file for federal tax refunds – all in another person’s name.”

Unfortunately, the recent Equifax security breach may have exposed all of information to credit fraudsters, including possibly your own information. The Chicago Tribune reports that as many as 143 million Americans may be affected by the breach, including 5.4 million residents of Illinois.

In addition to the size of the breach, the company’s handling of the crisis has sparked widespread anger. According to news reports, the hack started in mid-May. (Bloomberg reports that another – potentially unrelated – hack occurred in March.) However, Equifax reportedly did not discover the data breach until July 29 – and then waited until September 7 to tell the public, or roughly six weeks later.

Another revelation has further fueled the public’s outrage: Several news outlets, including CNBC, have reported that three senior Equifax executives unloaded company stock worth nearly $2 million within days after the company discovered the hack.

Several state and federal investigations have been launched as lawmakers respond to the Equifax data breach crisis. U.S. Senator Charles Schumer has called it “one of the most egregious examples of corporate malfeasance since Enron,” according to Bloomberg.

How Did the Equifax Credit Hack Occur?

Equifax blames the data breach on “a web server vulnerability in its open-source software, called Apache Struts,” Reuters reports. However, according to The Chicago Tribune, this explanation is troubling. It indicates that the company actually may have missed out on an early opportunity to prevent the hack from occurring.

As the Tribune reports, the company that oversees the Apache Struts software released a patch for the security flaw in March. The company blames the breach on Equifax’s failure to install the security update “in a timely manner.”   

USA Today reports that Equifax has hired a security firm to investigate the massive breach that occurred in mid-May as well as the reportedly unrelated breach that occurred in March.

What Can Steps Can You Take to Protect Yourself?

If you are concerned that your personal and financial data has been compromised in the Equifax security breach, you can take several steps to protect your rights and interests. Those steps include:

  1. Go to the Equifax website. According to Equifax, you can go to a special company website and enter your name and the last six digits of your Social Security number. The company will send you a message and tell you whether the hack exposed your information.

 

  1. Order a copy of your credit report. Under federal law, you are entitled one free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each credit reporting company. The credit report can reveal whether identity thieves have stolen your data. To order a report, you can go to the federal government-affiliated website, AnnualCreditReport.com.

 

  1. Keep a close watch on your accounts. If your information was exposed, it could take several months or even years before thieves use it. Make sure to monitor your bank and credit card accounts. Report any fraudulent activity that you detect. Several companies also offer credit monitoring services and may offer them to you at low or no cost if you have been impacted by the Equifax credit hack.

 

  1. Take more aggressive measures. If you want to take other steps to protect yourself, The Christian Science Monitor offers two suggestions:

 

  • Put out a fraud alert notice. This notice tells a company that views your credit report that you may have been the victim of identity theft. The company must take extra steps to confirm your identity. You must renew this notice every 90 days.

 

  • Order a credit freeze. This step prevents a company from accessing your credit report until you lift the freeze. To be effective, you would need to order the security freeze with each of the “big three” credit reporting firms: Equifax, TransUnion and Experian.

 

  1. Contact a lawyer. A lawyer can immediately review your case, answer your questions and help you to understand your legal rights and options. An attorney can also take help you to go through many of the above steps.

What Legal Options Are Available to Equifax Data Breach Victims?

Affected consumers have already filed Equifax data breach lawsuits in state and federal courts across the country, including individual claims and lawsuits that seek certification as class-action cases. The lawsuits generally allege that Equifax:

  • Failed to take reasonable steps to protect the highly sensitive personal and financial data of consumers, exposing them to the risk of identity theft.

 

  • Failed to promptly respond to the crisis, costing affected consumers the opportunity to take timely steps to address the risks they face.

The lawsuits accuse Equifax of corporate negligence as well as violations of state and federal laws that are designed to protect consumers.

When you contact Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., we will review the specific facts of your case. Our law firm has extensive experience with mass tort and class-action cases. We can discuss the legal strategy that works best for you and the goals you want to achieve.

Our firm also will investigate how much of your information was exposed to identify thieves and determine whether you have suffered financial losses and other harm as a result of that exposure.

We will also focus on the great deal of stress that you may have experienced – especially if this crisis comes at a time when you are looking to buy a car or home or trying to get a new job. Our goal will be to help you to get your life back on track.

Our Equifax Credit Hack Attorneys Are Ready to Help You

If you believe that you have been affected the Equifax data breach, make sure to speak with an experienced attorney from Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. before you accept any settlement offers or take other legal steps. We will be solely focused on protecting you and your right to full compensation.
Call or reach us online today to get started on your case. We can discuss your case by phone or through our offices in Chicago and Waukegan. Your consultation will be free and carry no obligations.