SAN DIEGO -- A class-action lawsuit was filed in federal court in San Diego on behalf of two people and the approximately 143 million U.S. consumers whose Equifax consumer credit files were hacked in mid-May through July.
The complaint -- filed late Friday -- claims that the consumer credit reporting agency Equifax has "irreparably harmed hundreds of millions of American consumers by failing to adequately protect their credit and highly sensitive personal information."
"(Plaintiffs) Ehud (Gersten) and Hannah (Obradovich) and all other consumers in this class trusted Equifax with this information, and the company should have taken adequate measures to keep this information private and confidential," said Danielle Fuschetti, one of the attorneys who filed the class-action suit.
The complaint alleges Equifax was negligent and "could have and should have invested more money and resources into ensuring the security of its data".
“They basically gave away to thieves the keys to the vault that contains people’s personal information,” attorney Ed Chapin said. “Thieves can take out loans in their name. They can apply for their tax refunds and there’s so much that they can do."
Equifax could not immediately be reached for comment.
The complaint asserts that Equifax learned on July 29 that unauthorized individuals had accessed its database -- including the names, Social Security numbers, addresses and other personally identifiable information of its customers -- but did not notify customers about the breach until Sept. 7.
The class-action seeks actual and statutory damages, equitable relief, restitution, reimbursement of out-of-pocket losses, and injunctive relief, including an order that requires Equifax to improve its data security and eliminate future privacy breaches.