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Feb 13, 2018

Tester Demands Government Watchdog Complete Equifax Investigation

Senator Holds Washington Bureaucrats Accountable, Calls for Enforcement

(U.S. Senate) - U.S. Senator Jon Tester is demanding answers from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) regarding reports that the watchdog agency halted its investigation into last year's Equifax data breach.

Following a cyber-security breach, announced in September 2017, in which cybercriminals gained access to the personal information, including names, Social Security numbers, addresses, driver's licenses, and birthdates of nearly 145.5 million Americans and 367,000 Montanans, the CFPB began investigating Equifax.

"The CFPB has not taken even the most preliminary steps to conduct an investigation," Tester, a member of the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, wrote. "The CFPB has a duty to investigate the harm to consumers and whether other federal consumer financial laws have been violated."

Equifax is a consumer credit reporting agency that collects information on more than 200 million Americans. The breach occurred in June 2017, but was not publicly announced by Equifax until September, while the company promoted products that would charge consumers to protect their data.

Following an apparent halt of the CFPB investigation into Equifax's data breach, Tester sent a list of questions to Budget Director Mick Mulvaney and CFPB Acting Director Leandra English.

"By letting criminals gain access to its databases, Equifax has put nearly half the US population at risk for identity theft and fraud," wrote Tester.

Tester has been fighting since the earliest report of the breach to hold Equifax accountable and ensure Montanans' private information is secure.

In September, Tester joined Montana Attorney General Tim Fox to roll out consumer protection guidelines for Montanans whose data may have been compromised. He also called on Equifax's CEO to testify at the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs and answer to the American public. Tester demanded that Equifax detail the specific actions it was taking to ensure that service members weren't victimized any further.

Tester demanded in October 2017 that the IRS withdraw its contracts with Equifax.

Tester's letter is available online HERE.

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