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Equifax hack casts shadow over many small businesses

When most people heard about the hack into the Equifax database — one of the top three credit reporting agencies used in the country — the reaction was widespread shock. It’s actually hard to comprehend how many people may be affected since the agency collects credit data on most of the nation.

Almost everyone has a reason to worry that their personal identification could be compromised and their credit misused as a result of the data hack. However, there’s a subgroup of people who have even more reason to worry: the owners of small businesses everywhere.

Small business owners often have their personal and business credit scores entangled. They rely on their good credit to borrow the money they need to get their inventory or pay their employees when invoices are slow to come in or the sales take a small hit for some reason.

Many small businesses run on a shoestring budget during their early years, so good credit is everything. It won’t just inconvenience them or cause owners to waste hours straightening out fact from fiction if their credit is compromised by the hack. It will close the doors to their livelihood and put others out of work.

Overall, while there’s a sort of still in the air as people wait to see what happens now that the leak is known, the information that’s out there has the potential to create a ripple effect that will upend a lot of lives. Consequently, a lot of small business owners are joining lawsuits against Equifax. Part of what they’ll be asking for is reimbursement for the lost time they spent monitoring their accounts to make sure identity theft hasn’t happened. They would also like to see Equifax waive the $99 fee it charges every time a business owner wants to review the credit record for his or her business. Unlike consumers, businesses are not given the right to review their credit for free even once a year.

But reimbursement and waived fees may not really help if a small business owner’s credit does become compromised — which means that individual business owners may have to either seek legal redress through lawsuits on their own or through joint action. An attorney can offer more information on business litigation claims related to data breaches.

Source: www.kitv.com, “Why the Equifax hack has small business owners worried,” Katie Lobosco, Sep. 28, 2017