Three U.S. senators — Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.; Robert Menendez, D-N.J.; and Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii — revealed that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau received more than 20,000 consumer complaints following the Equifax breach.
The trio released a comprehensive review of consumer complaints finding that in the six months after the breach, the CFPB received more than 20,000 complaints from consumers about the impact of the breach, problems with Equifax’s response, or other issues with the company. The number of complaints about Equifax nearly doubled after the breach, according to the report.
“This sheer number of complaints we found makes the case for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to act aggressively to hold Equifax accountable,” Schatz said in a statement. “Because of Equifax’s mistakes, people have lost jobs. They’ve lost access to their finances. They’ve been given the runaround when they tried to ask for help. These are the kinds of problems the Bureau was created to fix, but we are not seeing the kind of action you would expect from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. That needs to change, immediately.”
The senators sent their report to Leandra English, the deputy CFPB director, and Mick Mulvaney, the acting director, who is also head of the Office of Management and Budget. The senators pressed them to hold Equifax accountable and protect consumers from future data security breaches.
“Consumers are asking the CFPB for help about Equifax nearly twice as often as they did before the recent data breach — but Mick Mulvaney wants to make it easier for big financial institutions to get away with cheating people,” Warren said in a statement. “Instead of using the CFPB to coddle credit reporting agencies and hide financial misconduct from the public, Mr. Mulvaney needs to let the Bureau do its job and protect the 145 million Americans harmed by this massive breach.”
In the letter accompanying the report, the senators raised concerns about reports that at an American Bankers Association summit, Mulvaney indicated that he would soon order that key parts of the CFPB complaints database be kept secret and unavailable to the public.
According to a Reuters report in February, the CFPB’s investigation into Equifax has reportedly ”sputtered” since Mulvaney took over the CFPB; although, the CFPB has confirmed that an inquiry is still open.
The senators’ report shows that months after the Equifax breach consumers are still facing a myriad of problems and continue to seek assistance from the CFPB.
According to the report, the 21,921 complaints about Equifax included more than 7,000 complaints about the improper use of a credit report after the breach, more than 7,000 complaints about incorrect information on a credit report, more than 3,000 complaints about Equifax’s inadequate assistance in resolving the problems after the breach, and more than 1,500 complaints about Equifax’s credit monitoring services, fraud alerts, security freezes and other identity theft protections.
“Today’s report confirms our worst fears, that the breadth and depth of the Equifax breach has had and continues to have a devastating impact on the financial well-being of millions of Americans,” Menendez said in a statement.
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