Hack doesn’t absolve Equifax of being careless with consumers’ data

Media Contacts
Ed Mierzwinski

Senior Director, Federal Consumer Program, U.S. PIRG Education Fund

Congress must strengthen consumer protections, hold companies accountable


WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Justice announced Monday it was charging four members of China’s military with hacking into Equifax and stealing more than 146 million Americans’ data.

The Equifax data breach, which occurred in 2017, was the worst data breach in history. It exposed sensitive personal information, including social security numbers, birthdates, credit card numbers and driver’s license numbers, putting consumers at risk of several types of identity theft and fraud.


Ed Mierzwinski, senior director of federal consumer programs for U.S. PIRG, put out the following statement in response:


“Linking the Equifax breach to state-sponsored Chinese hackers doesn’t absolve the firm of its failure to adequately protect the confidential information of over 146 million consumers. Since the breach, several Congressional reports, a half-billion dollar settlement, and the termination of its CEO together have exposed a corporate culture that neglected to pay attention to a consumer’s most trusted possession: her good name. 


“Congress should strengthen consumer protections and hold the companies more accountable. The only way the bureaus will take securing our data seriously is if there are significant financial consequences for losing it.”


“We didn’t give the credit bureaus permission to collect or sell our data. Equifax gambled with our financial lives, and we lost.”