Rule #1: ALWAYS read the fine print
That’s what the public can take away from the Equifax hacking breach that happened earlier this week. There wasn’t anything in the fine print that allowed the hack, of course, but if you heed to their encouraging words to check your status — and whether your information was stolen or not — you could forfeit considerable legal rights.
Zack Whittaker, security editor for CBS News, sent out the following warning on Twitter for those thinking about using the site to see if they were part of the hack or not:
PSA: If you check Equifax's site to see if your data was stolen, you *waive your rights* to sue Equifax or be part of a class action suit. pic.twitter.com/p4AlmmLQ3r
— Zack Whittaker (@zackwhittaker) September 8, 2017
By visiting Equifax’s website equifaxsecurity2017.com and submitting information needed to see if you were a victim of the hack, you are basically waiving legal rights to sue the company as part of a class action lawsuit if evidence comes forward that shows Equifax was negligent in keeping users’ information secure to begin with.
Even people who have undergone the process are saying it’s not worth it — mostly because they’re not receiving any answers whatsoever. Gizmodo reports that the Equifax site will do one of two things: inform you that you weren’t hacked or that it doesn’t know at this time, and you should try again in a week.
The exploited vulnerability in the credit reporting company’s website reportedly impacts as many as 143 million U.S. citizens, and may have exposed personal information, including social security numbers. Equifax is no stranger to data breaches either – this is the third hack on the site since 2015, according to the New York Times, although experts say this is the worst of the three, and one of the worst hacks in general in recent years.
“On a scale of 1 to 10 in terms of risk to consumers, this is a 10,” fraud analyst Avivah Litan said.