The scenario that personal finance and credit experts feared most about the heist of consumer data from Equifax may already be underway: Criminals are using the stolen information to apply for mortgages, credit cards and student loans, and tapping into bank debit accounts, filing insurance claims and racking up substantial debts, according to a major new class-action suit.
The suit pulls together dozens of individual complaints from consumers in all 50 states plus the District and suggests that cybercriminals aren’t wasting time using the Social Security numbers, credit card accounts, driver’s license numbers and other sensitive personal information they siphoned out of the credit bureau’s reputedly secure databases on 145.5 million Americans.
Filed in federal district court in Equifax’s home territory of Atlanta, the suit is intended to create a single, giant national class action against the company. It alleges violations of federal and state laws and cites claims by more than 50 individual plaintiffs whose information was hacked that significant financial damage already is occurring. A few examples: