Wednesday, May 22, 2019

No justice for consumers in Equifax probe?

Equifax continues to be under investigation from the Federal Trade Commission and faces more than 240 class action lawsuits.

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The head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau , Mick Mulvaney, has decided to retreat from a full-scale probe of Equifax’s inability to protect the personal data of U.S. consumers.

According to Reuters, government and industry sources CFPB efforts to investigate Equifax have “stuttered” since Mulbaney took over from previous CFPB direction Richard Cordray, who resigned in November.

CFPB claims that they have “The desire, expertise, and know-how in-house to vigorously pursue hypothetical matters such as these.” Yet, sources for Reuters say Mulvaney has “not ordered subpoenas against Equifax or sought sworn testimony from executives,” normally these are routine steps when launching a full-scale probe.

The CFPB has also stopped all plans for their tests of how Equifax protects consumer data.

The agency has also rebuffed any outreaches of help from other organizations. Regulators at the Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency have all offered to help the CFPB with on-site exams of credit bureaus.

Equifax continues to be under investigation from the Federal Trade Commission and faces more than 240 class action lawsuits. Last time Equifax come under scrutiny by the FTC was in 2012, when they were forced to pay $393,000 in penalties.

Equifax, like other credit bureaus TransUnion and Experian, collects and stores millions of consumers’ personal data. This information is used by banks and other lenders to track consumers’ spending and debt history, and plays a major role in lenders decision on how and if to lend money to people.

Last September, Equifax announced that hackers had stolen personal data they had collected on over 140 million Americans. Following the announcement the CFPB and the FTC promised to work together on an inquiry, but now only the FTC plans to follow through.

Both banking regulators and the credit bureaus declined to comment on their dealings with regulators, and the CFPB says they are not permitted to acknowledge an open investigation.

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