Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Equifax faces another massive lawsuit, this time for its involvement in the theft of sensitive data.
Hackers allegedly used a website, run and managed by Equifax, in order to steal the personal information from W-2 forms from potentially hundreds of thousands of Kroger employees across the country. It is also believed that these identity thieves used information gathered from Equifax to file fraudulent tax returns on Kroger employees. Further, this data breach could have affected other employees at other companies who use the same W-2 Express program run and managed by Equifax Workforce Solutions.
Equifax, as many know, is the nation’s largest credit reporting agency, based out of Atlanta, Georgia. The lawsuit was subsequently filed on May 24, 2016 in the U.S. District Court by an Atlanta Kroger employee by the name of Betzalel Yochanan. The suit is a class action, containing more than 431,000 of Kroger’s employees, as well as an “undetermined” number of former employees.
The lawsuit accuses Equifax of failing to protect the employees’ information, as well as violating federal and Georgia laws requiring companies to take “reasonable measures” to protect sensitive personal data. Further, it alleges that Equifax failed to quickly investigate and notify potentially harmed persons that the data breach had occurred. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and assistance from Equifax for monitoring Kroger employees’ credit history.
The data breach was discovered April 27, 2016, and Kroger notified its employees of the breach in the beginning of May 2016. It is stated that the only barrier the hackers had to crack to get access to the data contained in the W-2 forms was a relatively simple initial password. Namely, a combination of the workers’ birth year and the last four of their Social Security number.
W-2 forms are annual statements that an employer is required by law to send to workers and the IRS. A W-2 reports tax information regarding income taxes withheld, annual wages, and other highly sensitive data including a person’s address, date of birth, and Social Security number.
The damage that could result from this type of breach could be irreparable. Kroger employees might have to spend the rest of their lives exhausting time and resources combating the damage done by the identity theft. Such damage includes, but is not limited to, the fraudulent opening of credit cards, mortgages, and other accounts.
This all goes to prove why consumers should stay on top of their credit reports, and monitor them regularly to ensure they are reporting correctly and there are no errors. Certain errors even amount to violations under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), and damages are available to harmed consumers if the errors are not remedied. At McCarthy Law, we know the importance of staying on top of credit reports and getting errors removed. That’s why we dedicated an entire team of attorneys to work on YOUR credit reporting errors for FREE! Yes, that’s right! For FREE! To find out more information, call or visit our website today – (855) 867-2121 or http://www.mccarthylawyer.com/credit-report-errors/.