December 16 2017

Equifax CEO Richard Smith Resigns After Backlash Over Massive Data Breach

December 16 2017, 04:49 | Clarence Walton

Equifax Security Showed Signs of Trouble Months Before Hack

Credit cards a chain and an open padlock is seen in front of displayed Equifax logo in this illustration taken

Equifax is promising consumers new control over access to their personal credit data - for free, and for life - as interim CEO Paulino do Rego Barros Jr. apologized to people affected by the company's recent data breach.

Smith, 57, who made nearly $15 million in salary, bonuses and stock a year ago, will be able to stay on the company's health plan for life.

"Equifax just signed you up for a lifetime game of Whack-A-Mole", says Leslie Beck, a certified financial planner in Rutherford, New Jersey.

"I am not 100% (sure) about how a lock works, especially Equifax's lock", said Chi Chi Wu, an attorney at the National Consumer Law Center, on Thursday.

To find out if you were affected by the security breach, you can visit the Equifax website and enter their portal to see if your information was compromised.

Senator Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat, called Equifax "a travesty" during a Senate hearing on Tuesday, saying Smith's resignation "is by no means enough".

ARNOLD: That's right. According to regulatory filings, several senior Equifax executives sold $2 million worth of company stock after the hack took place. Bell says customers of firms like his-and presumably Lifelock - are asked to provide driver's license and passport numbers as well as email addresses, so that potential credit hacks using those data can be tracked and unearthed by the ID theft companies.

Equifax, like many United States companies, requires people to agree to settle disputes by arbitration and forgo their right to a trial by jury. "Speaking for everyone on the Board, I sincerely apologise".

"A CEO walking out the door just days before he is to appear before Congress is an abdication of his responsibility". They also stole credit card numbers for about 209,000 people and dispute documents with personal identifying information for about 182,000 people. "So I fully expect Mr. Smith to testify before the Banking Committee next week, regardless of the timing of his retirement", said Sen.

The company confirmed that customer data of no other country that they operate has been impacted by the data breach. That the hack, which occurred between May 13 and July 30, weeks after the company became aware of software flaws, didn't help Smith's case.

"Ultimately, Equifax should be paying for the freeze at all three agencies".

Some lawmakers are calling for "clawbacks" of Equifax executives' pay.

If you decide against a credit freeze, consider placing a fraud alert on your files.

In the Journal, Barros wrote that the company is extending the sign-up periods for two free services - credit freezes and the TrustedID Premier credit monitoring tool - until the end of January. The card companies are connecting with the banks and other financial firms that issue cards, who will in turn contact individual cardholders.

But consumer advocates are questioning the company's decision to offer a lifelong credit lock instead of a state-regulated credit freeze, and are concerned over the unknowns - including if enrolling could limit your rights to sue.

As one can see from the accompanying infographic, 54.16 percent of Americans do in fact believe that Equifax should lose its ability to act as a credit bureau in the USA following the cyber-security breach.

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