Big Time Screw-up at Equifax, Customer Says
CHICAGO (CN) - After persuading a victim of identity theft to buy an ID protection plan, Equifax sent the man's complete credit report to the identity thief, a frustrated consumer claims in court.
Brian Bruce Sr. sued Equifax Information Service in Federal Court.
Bruce claims that on April 6 this year he "learned he had been the victim of identity theft, and that a criminal in New York had made unauthorized charges on his Capital One credit card."
That very day, "Bruce contacted Equifax to inform them that he was an identity theft victim and place a fraud alert on his account," the complaint continues. "Mr. Bruce disputed the Capital One account and informed Equifax that the ID thief was located in New York."
The day after that, he says, he "requested that Equifax put a security freeze on his account, and he also contacted Equifax to complain that the identity thief's address was listed as his own address on the document it sent him about the security freeze.
Equifax requested that he call back on Monday during regular business hours.
"Equifax then convinced plaintiff to sign up for one of its many products, the 'Equifax Complete Premier Plan,' which cost $19.95 per month, and which purports to
provide 'comprehensive credit monitoring and identity protection.'
"When plaintiff signed up for the program, he entered his Illinois address." (Reference to exhibit omitted.)
On April 9, Bruce says, he called Equifax again to complaint about the erroneous New York address, and it told him to fax him his W-2 tax forms listing his Illinois address. He did so.
That day, Bruce says, "Equifax mailed a copy of plaintiff's complete credit report containing his full Social Security number, full birth date and information about all of his credit accounts to the identity thief's address in Jamaica, New York. The report listed plaintiff's contact information as being his Illinois address, and notes that it was provided on April 6, 2012. On information and belief, the report was mailed as part of the 'benefits' provided under the Complete Premier Plan." (Reference to exhibit omitted.)
To top it off, Bruce says, "When plaintiff complained to Equifax about its conduct, Equifax attempt to blame the mistake on plaintiff."
In short, Bruce says, "Instead of helping plaintiff protect his identity after being the victim of identity theft, Equifax made the situation far worse by supplying the identity thief with all of plaintiff's sensitive personal financial information, birth date and Social Security number. Plaintiff now fears that the identity thief will attempt further fraudulent activity in his name and/or provide his personal information to other criminals."
Bruce seeks punitive damages for violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
He is represented by Daniel Edelman with Edelman, Combs, Latturner & Goodwin.