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Schuette joins multi-state probe of Equifax hack

The Detroit News

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette is joining more than 40 other state attorneys general in an investigation of the cyberattack on Equifax that may have affected about 143 million consumers.

The Republican elected official has signed a letter to demand the Atlanta-based company improve its consumer response to the data hack and take steps to refund those who have already paid for a credit freeze, according to a Friday statement.

In Michigan, more than 4 million people may have had their personal information compromised through an alleged cyberattack on Equifax’s database, according to Schuette’s office.

“While the investigation is ongoing, it is important that Michigan residents determine if they were affected by the breach and take steps to monitor their credit reports and their bank accounts and credit card statements, and report any suspicious activity immediately,” Schuette said in a statement.

The Atlanta office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Trade Commission both said this week that they are investigating the the Equifax data breach.

Schuette, who this week launched his campaign for the 2018 Republican gubernatorial nomination, encouraged residents who believe their personal information was compromised to file a complaint with his office.

“It is indefensible that they be forced to pay fees to fully protect themselves from the fallout of Equifax’s data breach,” he said. “I encourage everyone who has been affected to report their experience to my office.”

The cyberattack, revealed only last week, breached Equifax’s database from mid-May through July of this year, accessing names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and driver’s license numbers, according to Equifax. Credit card numbers for about 209,000 consumers were also accessed, the company said.

The company set up a website, equifaxsecurity2017.com, so consumers can determine whether their information was compromised. It also is offering free credit-file monitoring and identify-theft protection.

Some consumers initially were upset about being automatically enrolled for more credit monitoring through Equifax’s TrustedID Premier monitoring service after the one year of free service ended. But the company stopped that practice earlier this week.

Consumers who believe their information may have been compromised should put a security freeze on their credit file at each of the three major credit-reporting agencies and, if desired, a fourth agency, Innovis.

Regulatory filings show that three Equifax Inc. senior executives sold shares worth almost $1.8 million in the days after the company discovered the security breach.

The filings show that three days after the hack, Chief Financial Officer John Gamble sold shares worth $946,374 and Joseph Loughran, president of U.S. information solutions, exercised options to dispose of stock worth $584,099. Rodolfo Ploder, president of workforce solutions, sold $250,458 worth of stock on Aug. 2.

Residents can mail a complaint regarding Equifax to the state’s Consumer Protection Division, P.O. Box 30213, Lansing, MI 48909-7713 or fax it to (517) 241-3771. People also can go to the attorney general website and file it at the Online Consumer Complaint/Inquiry bar.

Questions can be addressed to the Consumer Protection Division Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at (517)373-1140 or toll free (877)765-8388.