Woman says her identity has been stolen 15 times since Equifax breach

One woman in Seattle says her identity has been stolen more than a dozen times since the Equifax data breach.

"I don't know if my information's been sold to the dark or web or wherever this goes” said Katie Van Fleet, a Seattle resident.

Van Fleet told Q13 News she's spent months trying to regain her stolen identity.

"I kept receiving letters from Kohl's, from Macy's, from Home Depot, from Old Navy saying thank you for your application,” she said.

But she says she's never applied for credit from any of those places.

Instead Van Fleet and her attorney believe her personal data was stolen during the massive Equifax security breach.

"It's a product that they want to sell and that they need to profit off of, that's what they care about,” said Catherine Fleming, Van Fleet’s attorney.

Fleming has filed a class-action lawsuit against Equifax, saying it was negligent when it lost private information on more than 140-million Americans.

"Countless people. I mean I've really, truly lost count and the stories that like you heard Katie's story, the stories I hear are heart wrenching,” said Fleming.

"Everyone's social has pretty much been stolen in the last 10 years,” said Bryan Seely, a cybersecurity expert.

He says everyone within earshot should do the following to protect themselves from identity theft.

First, shop with a credit card. It's easier to get stolen money back than from a debit card.

Also, be sure to review your credit report regularly from all credit reporting agencies.
Seeley also advises people to freeze their credit.

Doing so, he says, makes it impossible for strangers to open lines of credit in your name.

Van Fleet says she's spent countless hours trying to restore her good name. She's hoping to get a handle on the mess before she takes a crack at buying a house in Seattle.

"I didn't sign up to use Equifax so I feel all of that stuff has been taken and now I am left here trying to sweep up the pieces and just trying to protect myself and protect my credit,” she said.