FTC Backtracks on Paying $125 to Millions Affected by 2017 Equifax Data Breach
Jessamyn West, a 49-year-old librarian from Vermont, took Equifax to court over their massive data breach and received $600 in damages. According to the website KrebsOn Security.com, just days after Equifax disclosed the breach, West filed a claim with the local Orange County, Vermont, courthouse asking the judge to award her $5,000 in damages. She told the court that her mother had just passed away in July and that it added to the work of sorting out her mother’s finances while attempting to respond to have her entire family’s credit files potentially exposed to hackers and identity thieves.
Equifax, one of the so-called big three consumer credit bureaus, revealed back in September that big-three consumer credit bureaus, that they had been hacked and relieved of personal data on nearly 150 million people. The judge in the Vermont court agreed, but awarded West $690 — $90 to cover court fees and the rest to cover the cost of up to two years of payments to online identity theft protection services. West told the website she is “feeling victorious” even though the amount she got was a drop in the bucket for a corporation like Equifax, which raked in more than $3.4 billion in revenue in 2017.
Raising Awareness About Security
West said she filed her case in small claims court mostly to raise awareness. West is a librarian at the Randolph Technical Career Center who specializes in technology training and often conducts talks on privacy and security. She is in fact encouraging more people to follow her example.
If just a small section of the 147 million Americans who had their personal information stolen in the Equifax breach filed a claim and prevailed as West did, they could certainly hurt Equifax’s pocket book. And that’s the message West is trying to get across. The cost of filing the claim? $90. But the feeling of getting a win over a large corporation? West would probably say that is “priceless.”
Class Action Lawsuits
Equifax is also facing a number of class action lawsuits from consumers who have been affected by the 2017 data breach. Banding together as a class and bringing legal action is another way to hold a large corporation like Equifax accountable for neglecting to secure consumers’ precious private information ranging from Social Security and credit card numbers to date of birth information. We hope these legal actions – be it through class action lawsuits or small claims courts – help create more awareness about the importance of data security and send the message to these corporations that they need to do a better job of safeguarding our private information.