The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has announced that it is investigating Equifax Inc.’s massive data breach. According to a Reuters news report, this is a rare public confirmation of an investigation as Senate Democratic Leader Church Schumer suggested that the company’s corporate leaders might need to resign. Schumer also compared Equifax to Enron, a U.S. energy company that was consumed in scandal after revealing in 2001 that it had engaged in widespread accounting fraud.
The Senator said the Equifax data breach is “one of the most egregious examples of corporate malfeasances since Enron.” Schumer also referred to the company’s treatment of consumers after news of the data breach as “disgusting” and its inability to safeguard consumer data “deeply troubling.” An FTC spokesman said the agency does not typically comment on ongoing investigations, but is doing so in light of intense public interest and the number of people this data breach could potentially affect.
Failure to Protect Consumers
Equifax, which is one of the nation’s four large credit reporting companies, disclosed the breach on September 7, saying hackers may have stolen the personal information of 143 million Americans in one of the largest data breaches ever. The company said it learned of the hacking on July 29. Schumer said Equifax’s CEO and board should resign if the company does not take concrete steps within the next week to protect consumers and agree to testify before Congress.
The company has confirmed that hackers used vulnerabilities in its software to break into its systems. A patch for the vulnerability was issued in March, two months before hackers began to steal the data. Nearly 40 states have joined an investigation into the company’s handling of the breach.
There has been widespread outrage – rightly so – over Equifax’s handling of this data breach. Most notably, consumers are outraged after they went to the company’s website to sign up for the free credit monitoring service and were hit with a slimy arbitration clause requiring a promise that they would not sue Equifax or join class action lawsuits. Well, that didn’t work. Less than one week after news of the data breach broke, two dozen class action lawsuits have been filed against Equifax.
If you or a loved one has been affected by the Equifax data breach, call us to find out how we can help you pursue your rights. No corporation can take your rights away. Call us for more information.