On September 7, 2017, Equifax, one of the three main credit reporting agencies, announced a massive data security breach that, according to the
Wall Street Jurnal
, exposed vital personal identification data — including names, addresses, birth dates, and Social Security numbers — on as many as 143 million consumers, roughly 55% of Americans age 18 and older.
This data breach was especially egregious because the company reportedly first learned of the breach on July 29 and waited roughly six weeks before making it public (hackers first gained access between mid-May and July) and three senior Equifax executives reportedly sold shares of the company worth nearly $2 million before the breach was announced.
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Moreover, as CNN points out, consumers don't choose to do business or share their data with Equifax; rather, Equifax — along with TransUnion and Experian, the other two major credit reporting agencies — unilaterally monitors the financial health of consumers and supplies that data to potential lenders without a consumer's approval or consent.