Equifax

Consumer credit reporting agency Equifax, whose headquarters in Atlanta is seen here, said a breach of its computer systems had exposed the Social Security numbers and birthdates of up to 143 million U.S. consumers. (Dreamstime/TNS)

The massive theft of Social Security numbers and other personal data at Equifax could affect some 2 million Minnesotans.

The credit monitoring company’s law firm provided that headcount to the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office. Overall, 143 million Americans’ data may have been compromised.

Equifax is offering free credit monitoring to affected consumers. But the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen says people accepting that offer might be barred from suing Equifax and required to settle disputes through arbitration.

The concern arises over the terms and conditions Equifax sets for its website and products.

“Equifax moved to add insult to injury by forcing consumers who were impacted by its massive data breach to sign away the right to a day in court in order to get credit monitoring,” said Amanda Werner, Public Citizen’s arbitration campaign manager.

Werner advises consumers not to sign up for the credit monitoring service as long as there are concerns about how that could affect the opportunity to sue Equifax for damages.

Equifax has not made clear how the heavily criticized arbitration clause may apply to the data breach claims.

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