Three Equifax senior executives sold stock before revelation of breach

Ann Santiago
September 12, 2017

"Maine is one of the few states in which consumers can "freeze" their credit report information to prevent unauthorized persons from opening credit accounts in their name", said David Leach, the bureau's principal examiner.

A freeze takes your credit report out of circulation.

Here's how to freeze your credit.

Below are four steps to take following Equifax's data breach.

The senator isn't just speaking out online. Some credit card information was also put at risk.

Criminals took advantage of a "U.S. website application vulnerability to gain access to certain files" from mid-May through July of this year, Equifax said. Millions of Americans have bad credit because of mistakes from credit agencies, and it can ruin lives, stopping people from getting a job or owning a home or auto.

The case was filed by the firm Olsen Daines PC along with Geragos & Geragos, a celebrity law firm known for blockbuster class actions. He encouraged everyone to call Equifax and see if their information had been compromised, and added that his "office intends to get to the bottom of how and why this massive hack occurred". The stock has shed more than 20 percent of its value since Wednesday, the day before Equifax announced the breach.

Equifax's initial offer for free credit-monitoring services required consumers to agree to mandatory arbitration, a tactic that's a favorite of the financial industry because consumers give up their rights to join class actions.

Consumers must create credit freezes separately at each of the three credit bureaus, which along with Equifax includes Experian and Transunion (TRU). Experian Plc, Equifax and TransUnion, the three biggest USA credit-reporting companies, uncovered cases in 2013 where hackers gained illegal, unauthorized access to user information. This may cost a small fee if you do not have proof of identity theft or a police report, and you will have to lift or remove the freeze if you need a third party to access your credit report for a credit card application or auto loan application, for example.

Two victims in OR, affected by the breach - Mary McHill from Portland, and Brook Reinhard from Eugene - have filed a national class action lawsuit.

Some lawsuits could also target sales by three Equifax executives of almost $1.8 million of stock within a few days of the breach's discovery.

The bureaus store sensitive financial data on about 200 million Americans, which the companies provide to banks and other financial institutions that need to check into consumers' creditworthiness. They are focusing on consumer's protection right now.

Several state attorneys general have also said they would investigate, including those from New York, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.

The three "sold a small percentage of their Equifax shares, " Ines Gutzmer, a spokeswoman for the Atlanta-based company, said in an emailed statement.

Equifax spokesperson told The Guardianand Gizmodo that the executives had "no knowledge" of the breach at the time they sold their shares.

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