A proposed class action lawsuit filed in Washington accuses defendant Equifax Information Services of regularly declining to block the reporting of fraudulent consumer information when presented with claims of identity theft. The plaintiff alleges in the 13-page complaint that Equifax has made a practice of rejecting valid identity theft reports outright while falling back on “the same verification procedures it uses for common disputes” and depriving proposed class members of their rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).
The lawsuit specifies that amendments to the FCRA afford special protections to identity theft victims, including the ability to block the reporting of information in a consumer file resulting from improper conduct. Once a block is in place, the case says, a questionable account can be permanently removed from a consumer’s credit report, and creditors are prohibited from sending blocked accounts to collections. If a credit reporting agency such as Equifax chooses to decline a block, the company must provide the consumer with certain disclosures in writing, the suit says, including information concerning the individual’s right to add a statement to his or her file disputing the accuracy or completeness of certain information.
The plaintiff outright alleges Equifax fails to provide consumers with mandatory disclosures after declining to block information alleged to be the result of identity theft, even after receiving all required documentation.
“According to standardized policies and procedures,” the lawsuit reads, “Equifax willfully treats valid identity theft claims as regular credit disputes.”
Per the plaintiff’s situation, the complaint says an unknown individual used the woman’s personal information to open a BMW Financial Services account around December 2014. After receiving the plaintiff’s dispute, the case says, Equifax did not explain why it believed the woman’s identity theft report to be invalid and did not relay to the woman her right to add a clarifying statement regarding the inaccuracy of disputed information to her credit report.