“I don’t remember if my data has been sold to the dark web or where this goes,” she said. “I keep getting letters from Kohl’s, from Macy’s, from Old Navy saying, ‘Thank you for your request.’”
But she says she’s nevermore applied for credit from any of those areas. Instead, Van Fleet and her attorney think her personal data was stolen when the massive Equifax security breach.
“It’s a result that they want to sell and that they want to profit off of,” said Van Fleet’s attorney, Catherine Fleming. “That’s what they worry about.”
Fleming has filed a class-action claim against Equifax, saying the business was negligent when it lost individual information on more than 140 million Americans.
“Infinite people. I mean, I’ve really, truly lost count, and the accounts that like Katie’s, the stories I hear are heart-wrenching,” Fleming said.
“Everyone’s social has pretty much been hijacked in the last 10 years,” said Cybersecurity expert Bryan Seely, who encourages people to take steps to protect themselves from identification loss.
First, shop with a credit card. It’s lighter to get stolen funds back from a credit card than from a debit card.
Be sure to evaluate your credit report regularly from all credit recording agencies.
And, finally, he said you should freeze your credit. Doing so makes it undesirable for strangers to open lines of credit in your name.
Van Fleet said she has spent innumerable hours trying to reconstruct her good name, and she’s hoping to get a handle on the combination before she takes a crack at suborning a house in Seattle.
“I didn’t sign up to use Equifax, so I feel all of that principle has been taken, and now I am left here investigating to sweep up the pieces and just trying to defend myself and protect my credit,” Van Fleet said.