AG Healey Announces Intent to Sue Equifax After Major Data Breach
AG’s Office Alleges Company Failed to Protect Sensitive Information It Collected and Stored from Millions of Massachusetts Residents
BOSTON – Following a major data breach at credit reporting firm Equifax Inc., Attorney General Maura Healey today announced her intent to sue the company over its failure to protect sensitive and personal information of up to nearly three million Massachusetts residents.
“In all of our years investigating data breaches, this may be the most brazen failure to protect consumer data we have ever seen,” said AG Healey. “My office is acting as quickly as possible to hold Equifax accountable for the risks that millions of consumers now face.”
According to Equifax, the breach reported last week potentially compromised the personal information of 143 million consumers nationwide, including nearly three million Massachusetts consumers. On Friday, AG Healey launched an immediate investigation to determine the scope of risk to consumers and whether the company had proper safeguards in place to protect consumer information. The AG’s Office also issued guidance for consumers in the wake of the data breach.
The AG’s Office intends to allege in its lawsuit that Equifax did not maintain the appropriate safeguards to protect consumer data in violation of Massachusetts consumer protection and data privacy laws and regulations.
Equifax is a credit reporting firm that businesses rely on to make decisions about the credit worthiness of consumers, therefore affecting whether consumers can buy a house, acquire a loan, lease a vehicle, or even get a job. Consumers have little to no control over the information about them that Equifax acquires.
In most circumstances, the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act requires the AG’s Office to send a five-day notice to companies it intends to sue. The AG’s Office sent such a letter to Equifax today.
If you believe you are the victim of identity theft, you will need to take additional steps to protect your credit and your personal information. For more information on how to protect yourself, please see the Federal Trade Commission’s step-by-step guide at https://identitytheft.gov/.