By Pat Warren

BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Two Baltimore County law firms file the first Maryland-only class-action lawsuit against Equifax.

The credit reporting agency’s data breach involves 143 million Americans, including millions of Marylanders.

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The suit alleges that Equifax failed to secure and safeguard consumers.

The first thing that may come to mind is, “am I included?” The short answer is: if you live in Maryland and your data was breached, then yes.

The Equifax data breach is a worst case scenario for millions of consumers, including an estimated 3 million Marylanders.

“What happened is peoples’ social security numbers, personal identification numbers, dates of birth, all the information to steal someone’s identity was taken,”said attorney Michael Paul Smith of Smith, Gildea and Schmidt.

Equifax faces class-action lawsuits nationwide for the breach, which occurred between May and July.

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“The beauty of a class action is, OK let’s not have, you know, you do simple math. There’s probably 3 million or so Marylanders that have been affected and let’s not have 3 million cases clogging our court system,” Smith said. “Let’s have one or two or three that the plaintiffs cases are similar enough to the other people that we can try it as a class action.”

The suit was filed Friday in Baltimore County Circuit Court.

“If it gets certified as a class, you can still be a part of the class and not be a named plaintiff in the suit. That’s one of the beauties and efficiencies of class actions, is you don’t have to be the front person,” Smith said.

The lawsuit will proceed through the Maryland State Court System. A Baltimore law firm has also filed a class-action lawsuit in federal court.

Investigators say Equifax was aware in March that it’s software made them vulnerable to theft, but did not address the problem.

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