The Equifax hack can damage victims for years
While credit card accounts and other financial accounts are at risk in the massive data hack that attacked Equifax this year, it has effects that can victimize Americans for years if criminals get just three pieces of data – a name, a date of birth and a Social Security number.
They open the door to “total identity theft.” Forbes reported hackers got that data when they breached Equifax’s firewall in addition to “driver’s license numbers, credit card numbers for 209,000 people and dispute documents with personal information for 182,000 consumers.”
What is total identity theft?
While credit cards and other financial accounts can be cancelled or frozen, victims’ names, their dates of birth and their Social Security numbers don’t change. Those three pieces of data are all hackers need to take over another person’s identity. That can lead to bizarre situations. A hacker arrested for a crime can use a victim’s identity when being charged, leaving that victim with a criminal record.
According to Consumer Reports, those three facts are all hackers need to gain access to benefits from victims’ “private health insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid.” They can use the benefits to get treatment and pay their own medical bills. Hackers can change victims’ IRS tax records to get refunds they don’t deserve. That hack can take months to resolve.
Hacking was setting records before Equifax was breached
The Insurance Information Institute cited a 2017 study that found $16 billion was stolen from 15.4 million U.S. consumers in 2016, compared to $15.3 billion and 13.1 million victims a year earlier.” It says hackers began focusing on “new account fraud” after micro-chipped credit cards were introduced in 2015 to make the cards “difficult to counterfeit.” “New account fraud” occurs when “a thief opens a credit card or other financial account using a victim’s name and other stolen personal information.” USA Today also reported too that cell phone account takeovers have doubled in the past year. That lets hackers access financial accounts “when consumers utilize two-factor authentication involving a text message or token app.”
Equifax didn’t protect its data after it was warned
In an interview with The Los Angeles Times the former CEO of Equifax admitted all the “ways the company messed up” to put the personal data of nearly 143 million Americans at risk. Many didn’t know even know they had Equifax accounts.
Victims can sue Equifax
Wayne Wright has been representing victims of irresponsible companies for more than 40 years. He is one of America’s top trial lawyers. CNN celebrated his 2014 Litigator Award during prime time. Both honors are based solely on top dollar winnings for clients. Calls and evaluations are free. Clients only pay an amount they agreed on when their case is won.
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