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Gillibrand demands answers on stalled investigation into Equifax breach


WASHINGTON, D.C. -- U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, along with 31 Senate colleagues, sent a letter to Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Acting Director Leandra English and Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney demanding answers on reportsthat the CFPB has halted its investigation into how credit reporting agency Equifax failed to protect the personal data of over 145 million Americans.

Gillibrand was joined by U.S. Senators Schatz (D-HI), Menendez (D-NJ), Warren (D-MA), Brown (D-OH), Shaheen (D-NH), Tester (D-MT), Van Hollen (D-MD), Udall (D-NM), Heitkamp (D-ND), Duckworth (D-IL), Cortez Masto (D-NV), Merkley (D-OR), Reed (D-RI), Markey (D-MA), Donnelly (D-IN), Smith (D-MN), Baldwin (D-WI), Peters (D-MI), Murray (D-WA), Sanders (I-VT), Blumenthal (D-CT), King (I-ME), Wyden (D-OR), Hassan (D-NH), Feinstein (D-CA), Warner (D-VA), Klobuchar (D-MN), Stabenow (D-MI), Durbin (D-IL), Murphy (D-CT), and Jones (D-AL).

"We are deeply troubled by recent news reports that, under Director Mulvaney's leadership, the CFPB has stopped its investigation into the Equifax breach," the Senators wrote. "The CFPB is currently the only federal agency with supervisory authority over the largest consumer reporting agencies. Consumer reporting agencies and the data they collect play a central role in consumers' access to credit and the fair and competitive pricing of that credit. Therefore, the CFPB has a clear duty to supervise consumer reporting agencies, investigate how this breach has or will harm consumers, and bring enforcement actions as necessary."
According to reports, CFPB has not issued any subpoenas, sought testimony from key executives at Equifax, or proceeded with on-site examinations.

The Equifax breach exposed data that included customers' names, Social Security numbers, birthdates, addresses, driver's license numbers, and, for some consumers, credit card numbers. This data could easily be used by criminals to steal people's identity or commit fraud. The impact on consumers whose data has been stolen is potentially devastating. As a result of identity theft and fraud, customers face the risk of having debt accrued in their name. They could suffer long-lasting damage to their credit, which could lead to them being denied loans, mortgages, employment, or even rental housing. To resolve the damage done by this data breach, they will likely spend months, if not years, trying to correct resulting errors and problems with their financial records.

The full text of the letter is 
available here.

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