Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Data Breach at Equifax Affects 143 Million Consumers

Equifax logo.jpeg
 
As someone in healthcare, I can tell you there is a very serious effort made to protect patient data.  Not only is the health info of the patient something that should be carefully guarded, but also their demographic info.  An electronic health record contains a lot of information that could be used by nefarious types to commit identity theft.  This data is so valuable, that the federal government has fined practices hundreds of thousands of dollars for the loss of somewhere around 2000 patient records.
 
Now comes word of a security breach at Equifax which impacts 146 million consumers.  The data that was stolen includes Social Security Numbers, birth dates, addresses, some driver’s license numbers, some credit card numbers, and some dispute documents with personal identifying information. That is sufficient information to forge an identity.
 
News of the breach was bad enough.  However, then word broke that 2-3 days before the breach was announced, 3 high ranking executives of Equifax sold about $2,000,000 of stock.  That kind of activity is considered insider trading and is highly illegal.  That means in addition to the PR disaster that the breach created there is also a huge breach of trust in the organization as a whole.  Those are 2 very difficult incidents for a highly skeptical public to let pass.
 
Want more signs of a horribly run company?  According to NASDAQ:  Equifax is offering free credit monitoring, but is asking those who enroll in the service to waive their rights to a trial and resolve any disputes through arbitration”.  I find that incredibly generous of them sarcasm intended.  The company allows a data breach from mid-May until July, 3 executives sell off the stock at a high price prior to announcing, and then expects the victimized public to give up their rights in exchange for doing the right thing.  That last point may very well land them in even more hot water as California law requires that in such a situation the credit monitoring be provided for a year free of charge.

In order to see if you are one of the unfortunate 146 million, go to www.equifaxsecurity2017.com to check.

For the whole story of this nightmare,¬  

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