CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Update: 9/13/2017
The fallout continues, from a security breach involving a major consumer credit reporting agency.
Equifax recently announced data was compromised, affecting 143 million of its customers, estimated to be half of the world's population.
But Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) says the company's investors learned about the hacking incident before its customers did.
"We know that the company found out about this, then some executives dumped stock they had in this company at a high price, then the public found out," Brown said Wednesday. "I'm not a lawyer, but that sounds like insider trading, and I know the justice department is looking into that."
Brown, along with West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin and a bi-partisan group of two dozen other senators, wants a federal investigation into the security breach.
The senators made their request in a letter to the Justice Department, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Trade Commission.
West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey warns more than 730,000 West Virginians could be impacted by a massive data breach targeting Equifax Inc., one of America's three major credit bureau monitoring agencies.
Equifax reports hackers exploited a website application vulnerability and gained access to files potentially impacting 143 million consumers in the U.S, including 730,119 in West Virginia.
“The Equifax breach poses a significant threat to nearly half of our state’s population,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “Every West Virginia consumer must be aware of this incident and take the necessary steps to protect their finances. Those impacted also should monitor further developments.”
Equifax reports hackers primarily accessed names, Social Security numbers, birth dates and addresses. In other instances, hackers also may have gained access to driver’s license numbers, credit card numbers and dispute documents containing personal identifying information.
The chance that hackers now possess such information increases threat of identity theft for those impacted.
The Attorney General urges consumers to watch their bank and credit card accounts for unauthorized charges, monitor credit reports, strengthen passwords where necessary and be extra cautious with any unsolicited email, phone call or other attempt to gain your personal information.
Equifax established a website, https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com, to notify consumers and provide guidance on ways to protect themselves against potential misuse of the hacked information.
The Attorney General urges anyone using the Equifax website only to do so on a secured computer and make sure they use the correct website, ensuring it includes the "s" in "https:" for security with no changes to the spelling or domain.
The company also reports it is offering one year of credit file monitoring and identity theft protection for all U.S. consumers, whether or not the consumers are among those impacted by this breach. It includes credit monitoring for Equifax, Experian and TransUnion; copies of and the ability to lock Equifax credit reports; identity theft insurance and online scanning for Social Security numbers.
Anyone with questions or believe they are a victim of the Equifax data breach, can call the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-368-8808, the Eastern Panhandle Consumer Protection Office in Martinsburg at 304-267-0239 or visit the office online at www.wvago.gov.