Equifax Is Tricking Consumers Into Waiving Their Right To Sue Over Data Breach

Equifax, the oldest and most valuable of the three main credit reporting agencies, revealed a massive data breach; one of the largest such hacks ever recorded. Personally identifying information like Social Security numbers, birth dates, and even driver’s license numbers were involved in the breach, affecting up to 143 million people — nearly half the U.S. population.

Naturally, anyone who with any credit at all will want to know whether or not their info was involved in the incident, and Equifax says they want to help. But now, concerns are being raised that Equifax is deceptively requiring consumers to waive their rights to join any class action lawsuit against them, should they enroll in the company’s fraud protection program and possibly if they even use the website to see if they’ve been affected.

That’s right — if you enroll in their fraud protection–something they specifically provided to you because of the breach–you automatically agree to arbitration and lose your right to sue. It’s currently unclear whether this applies to merely checking to see if your information has been compromised.

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The website, which, for obvious reasons, we will not provide a clickable link for here, is equifaxsecurity2017.com.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB ) is actually trying to ban arbitration clauses like this, specifically because they can be so deceptive. But those rules have not yet taken effect, and won’t for another ten days. More importantly, the rule will not work retroactively, so consumers can’t get out of this arbitration if they follow through with the sign-up process on the Equifax site.

New York’s Attorney General has already contacted Equifax about the arbitration clause:

The CFPB said in a statement that the clause was “troubling,” and that they were investigating both the security incident that set this all off and the company’s response to it, saying that “Equifax could remove this clause so that consumers can receive this service without condition.”

Not only is Equifax requiring an agreement that strips you of your legal rights, but even if you decide you don’t care about all that, the company requires you to provide even more personal information as you sign up for the resolution tool.


Featured image via media library