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Equifax in the doghouse with US credit unions

This past July, a massive data breach was discovered by Equifax credit bureau in one of its web applications that is used by customers to log issues with their credit reports. The breach, which occurred from May through July, gave hackers access to such private information as driver’s license and Social Security numbers, home addresses and birth dates of more than 143 million Americans and 100,000 Canadians.

As a result, financial institutions and credit unions in the United States began launching lawsuits against Equifax, which didn’t warn the public about the security breach until Sept.7. At deadline, America’s national credit union trade organization, the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), as well as numerous credit unions had initiated lawsuits seeking unspecified damages for anticipated costs, such as replacing members’ payment cards, covering fraudulent purchases and taking protective measures to reduce identify theft risk, the Credit Union Times reported.

A class action lawsuit was also launched in mid-September by Canadian consumers whose data were stolen. They are seeking damages of $550 billion, the Toronto Sun reported.

CTV News quoted cybersecurity expert Brian O’Higgins warning that stolen information can be used by fraudsters to take out a mortgage or a line of credit in the name of individuals whose information was stolen. ◊