A California woman has sued ChoicePoint for fraud and negligence after criminals gained access to a database of personal records compiled by the company.

The suit, which seeks class-action status, was filed Friday in Los Angeles Superior Court and claims that for at least five months, the company failed to adequately protect people's financial records and confidential information.

A ChoicePoint representative was not immediately available to comment. ChoicePoint has acknowledged that tens of thousands of consumer records were improperly accessed, and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department has made at least one arrest.

ChoicePoint maintains a database of information, including bank and criminal data, on virtually every U.S. consumer. That information is sold to government agencies, prospective lenders and others.

The identity thieves were able to access Social Security numbers, credit histories, criminal records and other sensitive data, ChoicePoint has said.

The suit seeks to represent anyone whose personal records were maintained by ChoicePoint from October 2004 through the completion of the suit, regardless of whether or not that data was actually released to anyone.

It also claims that prospective class members, possibly numbering at least 145,000 in total, have suffered damages of less than $75,000 each.