NC attorney general demands answers on Equifax breach

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The AG's office also issued guidance for consumers in the wake of the data breach.

Equifax is a different story.

The National Retail Federation and other industry associations are telling Congress that any new federal law on data breach notification should apply to all industries that handle consumer data, citing the recent breach at the Equifax credit reporting agency. To be sure, Equifax has only about 120 million outstanding shares and a relatively small market capitalization of about $17 billion. "We also are focused on consumer protection and have developed a comprehensive portfolio of services to support all USA consumers, regardless of whether they were impacted by this incident". Class action lawsuits are also a possible avenue for clients (former and active) to try to receive money from the company.

Obviously, however, this is a situation in which there ought to be a law, if there isn't one already.

Dr. Barbara Rembiesa, president and CEO of the International Association of IT Asset Managers: The second major Equifax data breach in four years is a clear indication that "corporate America still does not have proper information technology asset management techniques" in place. "How is that not insider trading?"

The top three Equifax executives sold $1.8 million worth of company stock in the days after they found the breach in what appears to be an attempt to save their assets soon to be lost in lawsuits, according to Bloomberg. The company did not immediately respond to request for comment.

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"Equifax is offering something that it says functions like a credit freeze", says Mike Litt, consumer program advocate with US Public Interest Research Group.

Smith explained that hackers gained access to the names, dates of birth, SSN, addresses, and in some cases, driver's license and credit card numbers of 143 million Americans.

When I personally called the number to ask about Equifax waiving the fees for security freezes, the call center representative couldn't answer my question.

"I can't imagine them doing something like that unless there's a legitimate systemic reason, like they don't want their sites to crash", wrote John Uhlzeimer, a consumer credit expert who worked at Equifax in the 1990s, in an email to NBC News. The company has said it realized it had been hacked in July, several weeks before it disclosed the breach.

"The @CFPB's new rule would stop companies like @Equifax from avoiding legal accountability like this - as long as @GOP doesn't reverse it", tweeted Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). But really-Equifax?! Along with TransUnion and Experian Plc, the company's primary mission is to compile, store and disseminate personal information on customers to creditors who want to know if they are making good loans or not. "These material misstatements and/or omissions had the effect of creating in the market an unrealistically positive assessment of the company and its well-being and prospects, thus causing the company's securities to be overvalued and artificially inflated", the complaint asserted. But if Equifax investors can get past early dismissal motions, they can obtain discovery that could help them flesh out allegations that the company knowingly misrepresented the security of its data. Large-scale litigation such as this is par for the course in the aftermath of high-profile data breaches, which can result in settlement payments up to hundreds of millions of dollars.

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