Why you should not use the Equifax website to determine whether your data was stolen

On September 7, 2017, individuals in Oregon filed a massive (impacting 143 million people) data breach class action against Equifax Inc.  The plaintiffs contend that Equifax did not protect consumer data, did not notify consumers in a timely manner when learning of a data breach, and that its executives executed personal sales of company stock prior to publicly disclosing the breach.  

Because Equifax is one of the three credit reporting agencies it probably already has a trove of your personal information.  This includes your social security number, credit card numbers, residential addresses, etc.  And this is true even if you didn’t directly or knowingly provide this information to Equifax. 

One of the things that Equifax did in response to the lawsuit was establish a website where consumers can presumably check to see whether their data was stolen.  Here is a screenshot of the company’s tweet with a link:

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This blog post should not be considered actual legal advice and you should always consult with an attorney prior to taking any action affecting your rights, but…

YOU SHOULD NOT CONDUCT THIS SEARCH.

Again, just to be clear: YOU SHOULD NOT CONDUCT THIS SEARCH.  Conducting the search by following that link requires that you agree to certain terms and conditions.  This includes a condition that you agree to waive your right to sue Equifax.  This is an absolutely terrible thing to do.  Equifax already has a duty to notify you of the breach regardless of whether you waive your right to sue.  There is no logical reason to agree to the arbitration clause in which you waive this right.  It is intended to impede your ability to participate in the class action.

Should you have any questions on this or any other matter, please do not hesitate to call our office at (314) 725-4400 or email us at neil@smithlawfirm.com.