Equifax, which is enduring the fallback from the latest major cybersecurity breach to rock the U.S. market, now has to face up to small businesses (SMBs) affected by the event.
Reports on Thursday (Sept. 21) said the Atlanta unit of The Doss Firm, LLC has filed a class action lawsuit against Equifax on behalf of 28 million small businesses in the U.S. The suit, filed Sept. 19, argues that SMBs have been disproportionately affected by the security breach that led to the compromise of Social Security numbers and other personal information of 143 million Americans.
According to reports in Infosecurity Magazine, the class action lawsuit claims that small businesses were put at risk because they have to pay to access their credit reports via Equifax, as well as because of the potential exposure of sensitive business data due to the hack.
“This is a real double-whammy situation for small business owners whose access to credit can often live or die in terms of their personal creditworthiness,” explained Attorney Jason Doss, according to the publication. “The breach could either damage the business directly through identity theft or it could cripple access to small business credit by damaging the ‘linked’ credit of the individual who owns the enterprise.”
“Unlike consumers who are entitled under federal law to obtain one free credit report annually, businesses must pay for their credit reports ($99 from Equifax),” the lawsuit states. “Many of the 143 million individuals whose [personally identifiable information] was hacked are also owners of small businesses that heavily rely on personal and business credit to operate and provide for families across this country.”
Equifax is facing numerous lawsuits over the data breach that was discovered by the company in July but only revealed to the general public six weeks later. The Federal Trade Commission has also opened an investigation into the incident.