Massachusetts Kicks Off State Lawsuits Against Equifax Over Massive Data Breach

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Consumer credit reporting agency Equifax has already been hit with over 30 lawsuits over what may be the largest breach of sensitive information in U.S. history – at least 23 of which are class-action filings, and all of them representing individuals.

On Tuesday, Massachusetts AG Maura Healey – a Democrat who in March led the state in suing the Trump administration over the travel ban – announced her intent to take Equifax to court, the first such lawsuit from a state prosecutor’s office over a data breach which has affected up to 143 million Americans. “In all of our years investigating data breaches, this may be the most brazen failure to protect consumer data we have ever seen,” said Healey.

In a press release, the Mass AG’s office is claiming that Equifax did not “maintain the appropriate safeguards to protect consumer data,” which is a violation of state consumer protection and privacy laws.

While Equifax offered people a free credit monitoring service which initially waived the right to sue the company, they later clarified that customers could sue if they sent Equifax written notice within 30 days. Yesterday, the company said that use of the free credit monitoring service does not waive the right to take legal action.


New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said the clarification came as a result of conversations with his office.

“The victims of this breach shouldn’t also have to worry that they’ve waived their legal rights simply because they were trying to protect themselves. That’s why my office reached out to Equifax last week about the terms of use,” he said in a statement.

Schneiderman’s office is currently investigating the breach, as are attorneys general in Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Illinois.

Regulators and investigators across the country have already begun to dig into the scope and disclosure of the hack – including safeguards and procedures Equifax had in place prior to the attack. The NY AG’s office begun an investigation into the breach last week, along with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the FBI.

Setting sale before the storm

Separate of the lawsuits, a bipartisan group of senators called upon federal prosecutors to investigate stock sales by three Equifax executives before the company publicly disclosed the hack, generating nearly $2 million in proceeds shortly after the breach was detected.

SEC filings show that Equifax CFO John Gamble sold $946,000 worth of shares on Aug 1, while two other executives sold shares and exercised options worth nearly $850,000.

The lawmakers, led by senators John Kennedy (R-LA) and Jack Reed (D-RI) is asking the SEC and the FTC to look into the sales.

“As part of your investigations, we request that you conduct a thorough examination of any unusual trading, including any atypical options trading, for violations of insider trading law,” the senators wrote. “We request that you spare no effort in your investigations and in enforcing the law to the fullest extent against anyone who is found to be at fault.”

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Conservative C… JohnG Thu, 09/14/2017 - 06:45 Permalink

I did a credit freeze a number of years ago with all 3 credit bureaus.
You set it up by giving them ALL your info. So when the bad guys process my info and sell it I can kiss my credit rating goodbye forever. I'm currently fighting with Jamie Diamon's Chase Bank though so my credit's shot. This will most likely just give me other banks to fight with when I tell them to fuck off after someone takes out loans in my name. I don't care though cause I'm not buying anything on credit anymore. And I sleep well at night too.

In reply to by JohnG

Frito stant Thu, 09/14/2017 - 00:55 Permalink

If this story is true, and if the US branch is anything like Equifax Argentina, you wouldn't even need to have a security hole in the software. Online employee portal admin user/password was: admin/admin  I have seen similar things in very large organizations. Passwords that are so easy to guess that you don't even need to try.

In reply to by stant

francis_the_wo… Lumberjack Wed, 09/13/2017 - 20:33 Permalink

The optimist in me wants to believe that perhaps some, like maybe this judge, are realizing that the gig is up and are starting to cover their own a$$es.  If that's happening, we'll probably see those who can distance themselves from the Big Hoax do so.  There's plenty who won't be able to do so, as they are in too deep, but I don't think that will stop them from trying.

In reply to by Lumberjack

Wexx Wed, 09/13/2017 - 20:39 Permalink

See here is the thing, I NEVER gave any of the three "credit reporting companies" permission to do anything with my SSN#. Technically they stole my information or were given it by a credit card company without my permission. Also, I am legally NOT responsible for any information contained in my "credit report", but they are per the "fair credit reporting act". All three can burn down to the ground for all I care because they have always screwed people over. And yes, I am joining the lawsuit as well.

Conservative C… Wexx Thu, 09/14/2017 - 06:58 Permalink

Me too. I'm joining one of those dumb class action lawsuits. Equifax is going down. This is the type of company that should have ironclad security.
It's like Amazon but not as enthusiastic as Amazon at guarding their data.
Imagine what would happen if Customer account info was hacked at Amazon ; it would ruin them obviously.

In reply to by Wexx

AR15AU Wed, 09/13/2017 - 21:12 Permalink

what if this makes it harder for creditors to collect on defaulted debts? couldn't that imply hundreds of billions of new bond losses that are not yet visible? 

AR15AU Wed, 09/13/2017 - 21:17 Permalink

in related news, i noticed Zillow adjusting down home prices without chaning the "$XXXX gained last month!" so in effect you have houses magically have $20,000 subtracted from them across entire regions and yet all of the statistics still show the exact same +$XXXX gained last month!... so Zillow is literally cooking the number on their site and then showing trend analytics that do no match what their data is doing when they secretly change the data.. anyway.. no one cares!

silverer Thu, 09/14/2017 - 08:51 Permalink

So wait! Let me get this straight: MA will sue Equifax for millions of dollars for screwing their customers. MA will win the lawsuit, and receive millions of dollars. Then what happens to the money? Oh. I get it. Transfer of wealth. The money you've been screwed out of is just held by a different party. In this case, Massachusetts. Don't worry, it will go to fund state pensions. Thanks for the donation.

skunzie Thu, 09/14/2017 - 11:18 Permalink

Every state and the 143,000,000 individuals should all file suit against this f*cking company.  It needs to be destroyed, or at least BF'd as much as they BF the consumer!