AS HEARD ON: WGAN – Legal Issues Surrounding Equifax Breach – How to Sue Equifax Yourself: AS HEARD ON – The WGAN Morning News [09-20-17]

On This Episode…

Craig had the best discussion with Ken and Matt today.

Talked about what’s next with the Equifax hack, and how this can affect homeowners with mortgages like Matt.

Also, find out why you don’t need a lawyer to sue Equifax.


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Below is a rush transcript of this segment, it might contain errors.


Airing date: 09/20/2017


Legal Issues Surrounding Equifax Breach – How to Sue Equifax Yourself Using a Chatbot



Craig Peterson: I had the best discussion this morning with Ken and Matt. We were talking, of course they cover the state of Maine, talking about more details. What’s next for the Equifax breach? Now if you don’t realize it, Ken is a practicing attorney so we get into some of the legal stuff. Matt just got a mortgage so we’d be talking a little bit about how that might’ve impacted him and what he’s had to do in order to get that mortgage and a little bit more update on our dark web reports. Here we go.


Matt Gagnon: And it’s 7:38 on the WGAN Morning News on a Wednesday which means that Craig Peterson is joining us once again to give us an eye on technology. Craig, how are you this morning?


Craig: Hey good morning. Doing really well.


Ken Altshuler: So let’s start off with Equifax. As you know, or Equifax, how would you like to say that Equifax.


Matt: Equifax.


Ken: Equifax. I am an attorney. Do you need an attorney to sue them? Should you sue them? Could anybody do anything about Equifax?


Craig: I am not an attorney nor do I play one on the radio.


Ken: Lucky you.


Craig: Yeah. So, yeah. This is kind of an interesting question. You know, a lot of people, by the way, I had like, now it’s more than a thousand listeners here, subscribe to get my report into, I’m doing dark web searches for everyone. Just a real quick note, I have started sending those out. They’re going out. You’ll be getting all of those reports. And we had some people that had had their information stolen in as many as 20 different hacks online. One individual. So it’s crazy what’s been happening. And so people are upset and rightly so. You know last week I mentioned that it’s about three quarters of all adults, it looks like, had their personal information stolen. And even if you didn’t just have your credit card number stolen, if your social security number’s stolen, the last four digits of the so security number which is the pin they’re always asking you for, there’s problems. A lot of people are upset. And so, I know Ken, your phone’s probably been ringing off the hook.


Ken: Yes it has been. Yeah.


Craig: Yeah exactly here. And about all of the stuff. This Equifax thing is going to be huge. And my personal opinion is they need to go out of business. You know this is a company that you or me or Matt probably, we had no direct dealings with these people. They were collecting our personal information and they were pulling it all together and they were selling security and safety services and they failed everybody. It’s just terrible what’s happened.


Matt: But are they? I know I interrupted you there, Craig.


Craig: Sure.


Matt: Are they? I mean what could actually make them go out of business? I mean their clients essentially are not the customers that they just screwed.


Craig: Yeah exactly.


Matt: So are they? Is there any threat of them actually going out of business? And here’s the other question is if they were to, if somehow Equifax disappeared, does another third, you know, credit bureau jumping to its place? Do we reimagine what the credit bureaus are and how we deal with credit reports and all that other stuff? Or is this really just get to stay the way it is?


Craig: It’s number two, I hope. Right? Which is…


Matt: You’re an optimist, Craig. I like that about you but.


Craig: Well I hope. I hope it is. I don’t think it is. And Matt, you know how do you reform this? What did John F. Kennedy put in place? Ken knows this. How did he change our legal system? Tort Reform right? That’s what JFK brought us.  I think that’s probably his biggest gift to us frankly. What they did was li. Well, libel is a different thing, but anyways. It was just terrible what they did Matt. And our information is out there. So what do we do? Well, our recourse is to sue them, right? If we think we’ve been wronged, you can sue them. You can sue anybody for anything frankly. Right? So should you sue them? Well, remember Matt as you just said, these are people who had our information without our direct permission. And it was leaked out or was stolen. However it got out of their hands. It’s apparently in the hands of the bad guys right now.


So let me see, if you have a bit of a monopoly what’s the first thing you’re going to do? Well maybe you might lobby Congress. Maybe you might go out and lobby states. Well guess what they did? They managed to get in place laws on the federal level and in each state about what their liability would be if they had lost your information. So it varies from state to state, even locale to locale, as to what kind of maximum damages there are. And it depend again on where you live. I’m sure we have here in Maine. But these maximum damages can go up to $25,000. And so kind of going back around to Ken’s initial question here is, you know, can we sue them? Is there a better way than hiring a lawyer? And of course Ken, the answer to that is no. There’s never a better way than hiring a lawyer.


Ken: Exactly.


Matt: Did Ken talk to you this morning? Is that a public service announcement?


Ken: I’ll send you 20 bucks later.


Matt: The Ken Altshuler-at-law?


Craig: But yes, there is. There is a new chat bot. I put an article about it up on my website. This chat bot is really kind of cool because it’s been kicking around for a while and I saw some interviews with this guy who put it together. It’s called DoNotPay. And the chat bot was put together in order to help people with parking tickets. And so we live in a city like New York City, I got a parking ticket down there once, I was there visiting and on the street pole there were no less than five parking signs and some of them said no parking, no stopping at any time, other said parking Sundays from 8 AM to five or whatever it was, and another one. All five of them are contradictory. So there was no way that you should park their but I didn’t, I had out-of-state plates right? So what are they going to do to me? Ultimately they did nothing other than send me a bill. But anyways, what are you supposed to do? Well, that’s where DoNotPay came in. So this guy put together this little chat bot. It’s rather inexpensive. Just a few bucks to use. And it will help you file the paperwork to dispute parking claims. Well now this chat bot will take you through a series of questions you can answer and then it will help you fill in all of the paperwork. It will give you basically everything you need to file a Small Claims Court application to sue Equifax for negligence in this case. It’s absolutely amazing. You have to do the work. You have to file it. It’s telling you what to say, what to do how to put it together. And then you have to show up in court. But this is the sort of thing that is going to be, the kind of be the future and the nemesis of these big companies that have been, you know Matt, kind of like you were saying, not just implying, saying they don’t get held liable for anything right?


Matt: No they don’t. That’s the thing. It’s the customer base for these people are not who the customers of it really are at the end of the day, right? I mean we are the customers that they’re trafficking in our information. So yeah. Absolutely.


Craig: Yeah, it’s like Facebook right? You’re not the customer of Facebook. You’re the product right?


Matt: Absolutely.


Craig: And we are the product of Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. So I was sitting there and I was hitting myself in the head watching TV the other night. I actually had cable TV reinstalled in my house, because I had cut the cable a while ago and because I wanted to see what Comcast doing nowadays and played with it a little bit. But it seems like every other commercial was for Experian to do a dark web search. And Experian, by the way, is one of the companies, as I’ve been doing dark web searches for listeners and putting them together, Experian comes up in it too. They lost your data. So Experian is saying, hey. Let us do a dark web search. Let us help you. Let me see what they’re doing. You know, maybe I can recommend it for some of the listeners. So I went on to their site, have them do a dark web search, they don’t tell you anything. All they want to do is sign you up for more dark web searches and sign you up for their protection racket that obviously…


Matt: I mean, doesn’t that sound like the mob to you? And in all seriousness. I mean, it’s basically like, you know, it would be a real shame if anything happened to this store of yours. Perhaps you should pay us and we’ll make sure that nothing happens to the store. It’s just so ridiculous. I hate it. And I should be, I should mention that I hate it before the Equifax breach too. This has always been a racket. It’s always been unfair. It’s always been waiting for something like this to happen. And I, you know, if you think that TransUnion and Experian aren’t going to have some problem like this or haven’t already and just not told us. I mean it’s.


Craig: Well Experian has.


Matt: Yeah.


Craig: Last year. Big breach. Is this a Ricoh-type thing? Of course these aren’t corrupt organizations.


Matt: No, of course not. They would never…


Craig: Never.


Matt: No, of course.


Craig: Never. So what do we do going forward, which was your question as well? Obviously these guys aren’t going anywhere. There’s four of them now. Equifax is going to lose market share. Their stocks taking a bit of a tumble. You will expect all of that. You know the other guys are going to pick up the slack. But there’s things that are being looked at right now. The blockchain technology that lives behind bitcoin is something people have been looking at now. And a lot of techie guys we’ve been discussing on some of these closed forms, can we use that? And I got a call yesterday, you know I’m involved with the FBI. I’m in their infrastructure protection thingy that they have.


Ken: You’re in the witness protection program?


Craig: Wow. Did I misspoke again? And the FBI’s been sending out some alerts to us. You know, orange. Code orange and amber alert and all this other stuff. But anyways, there’s discussion amongst federal agencies as well. But who controls the blockchain? If we have an ID card that’s electronic like what they have in Eastern Europe, does the government issue those? Do we want the government issuing them? It seems like everything they do they mess up. And then these big companies, we know, we don’t want the Equifaxes and the Experians to handle all of these stuff. And it’s so difficult to get things off the credit reports which is why I was upset with them before, Matt. I don’t know if that’s with you. Half of the information on my credit report is absolutely false. And I’ve had some guys on my radio show that are data aggregators that sell people’s data that they’ve gathered from public sources. They sell it to these credit bureaus. And so I’ve had them look me up and at least half of their information, in fact one of these guys, two thirds of it was false.


Matt: Well, you know Craig, not that I don’t want to belabor this at this point or anything, but not only is a lot of it false, but just what they use. The algorithms that they use to calculate a number. I mean, I just got a mortgage, you know, a few months ago right, when I bought my house. And, you know, trying to manipulate that number to be as good as possible to get your best possible rate, it literally is a numerical game where you try to get it at a certain point. And how they calculate what that number is is in many instances preposterous. I was literally told not to pay off a credit card, for instance, and it would give me an extra 10 points or whatever, to get me in a certain place. And instead I left, you know, $141.00 on the credit card. And that got me a better score than paying it off. Like that is, the entire system is messed up.


Craig: It is. We’re the only country in the world, by the way, that use the type of algorithms, this numerical process that you’re talking about, we’re the only country in the world that uses that type of a standard to establish a credit rating. The only one in the whole world where they have those types of silly things. And it’s not transparent and there’s whole industries that are out there to help you improve your credit score.


Matt: There are. There are companies. Yeah absolutely. There are industries. And it’s a racket. It’s an entire racket. And nobody does anything about it because, again, they’re not the direct customers of this. It’s sort of like a fact of life we all deal with. And I am a pessimist in this regard Craig. I mean, you know, you think that Equifax can have a market hit on that. I don’t know if I agree. Like I mean that basically they’re there collecting all this information. People are, do you think that the companies, the credit card companies and everybody are going to stop reporting information to them? I don’t want they will.


Craig: Do their customers care? Which is the more difficult question.


Matt: That’s the question.


Craig: Yeah, exactly. And ultimately, I don’t think they do.


Matt: And I don’t think they do, Craig, because what they’re going to want is the biggest, the most accurate picture of the lender or the lendees. Somebody is getting a loan. So are they going to really say no to a third credit report if they want to get a really holistic picture of that person? They’re probably not going to.


Craig: Matt, you’re depressing.


Matt: Sorry, I didn’t want to do that but I’m a realist.


Craig: Hey, as I’ve said, I’ll get those dark web reports out here. For those who haven’t already received them, they will become out shortly. If you want to have it run, we’re going to do another batch of them. It takes about 10- 15 minutes a piece to put these things together for everybody. But you can visit me, just, and you can get on the waiting list for the next time that we do this which will probably be in another couple weeks.


Ken: Alright, tech guru Craig Peterson. Go to That will have them do that service for you. And thanks for joining us. We’ll talk to you next week.


Craig: Hey gentlemen take care. Thanks.


Ken: Thanks.



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