Economy

Equifax apologizes again, lays out costs going forward

Equifax apologizes again, lays out costs going forward

Equifax Inc. said Thursday that its net income slumped about 27 percent in the third quarter, weighed down by costs related to its data breach that exposed the personal information of 145 million Americans earlier this year. Equifax has agreed to provide the TrustedID Premier credit monitor to all USA consumers free for one year.

The FREE Act would also prevent credit reporting agencies from profiting off of consumers' information during a freeze, enhance fraud alert protections, and provide the opportunity for consumers to receive an additional free credit report following the Equifax data breach.

The hack, which occurred between mid-May and late July and involved the theft of data such as birth dates, Social Security and credit card numbers, has led to multiple state and federal investigations, a criminal probe by the U.S. Justice Department and scores of class action law suits.

The company warned there could be further attacks. Equifax has not said how much cash it intends to set aside to cover legal costs. "I think they can get there, but they aren't there now".

Equifax estimates that the breach-related costs will total $87.5 million, including the cost of the free credit-monitoring services it provides to breach victims.

The company gathers data on consumers to help lenders determine borrowers' creditworthiness.

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Equifax's latest financials lay bare the costly fallout from the embarrassing security breach that exposed 143 million customers' privates in the U.S. and 15.2 million in the UK.

The SEC is one of more than a dozen regulatory bodies investigating Equifax over the hack.

Equifax also said in its filings that it had received subpoenas from the Securities and Exchange Commission, as well as the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Georgia "regarding trading activities by certain of our employees in relation to the cybersecurity incident".

Revenue rose 3.8 percent to $843.8 million, which fell short of the $847.3 million analysts were expecting.

Since the disclosure, the share of Equifax credit files locked or frozen by consumers has gone from 0.5 percent to between 1.5 percent and two percent, according to Gamble. Shortly after news of the breach broke, reports circulated that top officials had sold Equifax stock after the company found out about the breach, but before disclosing it to the public.


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