200,000 Sign Petition to “Force Equifax to Pay for Their Greed”
The incident was one of the largest, impacting private information such as Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, driver’s license numbers and credit card numbers, and was the result of Equifax not properly implementing necessary security protections, although it was aware of weaknesses in its systems.
In July 2019, Equifax settled with the authorities to pay at least $575 million to impacted consumers and to government organizations, which would supposedly translate to eligible individuals receiving $125 in cash. Free credit monitoring options were also offered to the impacted consumers.
A week later, the FTC warned that those users who would opt for cash would not receive the estimated $125, but a very small amount of that, due to the large number of claims filed. With nearly half of the United States’ adult population impacted, the result was not surprising.
“Factually, this settlement is so riddled with holes that consumers applying for ‘their share’ will never see a penny, let alone $125,” says Charles Kokoska, who started the petition in an attempt to determine authorities to hold Equifax properly accountable for its mistakes.
Kokoska notes that only $31 million were actually allocated to fund the portion of the settlement aimed at compensating consumers for their losses, which would translate into less than one percent of the affected individuals potentially receiving this money.
“So many consumers applied within the first week that the FTC is now pleading with the American Public to choose worthless credit monitoring (from Equifax – the same company who leaked our data!) instead of cash because at this rate, there won’t be enough money in the fund to mail a check for ONE PENNY to as few as HALF the affected consumers,” he says.
Also noting that Equifax had been warned before the incident that it should improve security and that the company chose to ignore these warnings, Kokoska asks interested parties to sign the petition to ensure Equifax does not escape liability.
“Force Equifax to pay for their greed, even if it drives them into dissolution,” he adds, pointing out that Facebook was forced to pay a $5 billion fine for disclosing non-financial information of its users. Equifax, he underlines, collects and shares private financial data (such as SSNs, credit information, address, license, and more) without allowing users to opt out.
“Once again, corporate greed at the highest levels is a higher priority than protecting the very consumers whose data makes the existence of these companies possible. It’s time WE send a clear and powerful message – to Equifax, the FTC and Washington in general: DO YOUR JOB. PROTECT US and not corporate executives,” Kokoska notes.
The goal is to have 300,000 people sign the petition, and then send it to the FTC and the White House, as well as to the Federal Judge in charge of the case.