Is Equifax going to get away with compromising all our data?

The investigation into the credit-monitoring agency is being scaled back.
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The investigation into the credit-monitoring agency is being scaled back.

What's happening?

Remember the gigantic hack at credit-reporting agency Equifax that compromised the personal data – including social security numbers – of 143 million Americans?

Well it turns out the government body set up to protect American consumers, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, is reportedly scaling back its investigation into the data breach, according to Reuters.

The news organization says that the new director of the CFPB, White House budget chief Mick Mulvaney, has not ordered any subpoenas from Equifax or asked for any sworn testimony from its executives, which Reuters said are "routine steps when launching a full-scale probe."

It's also reportedly shelved plans for "on-the-ground tests" of how Equifax protects our data.

Equifax says it cannot comment on open investigations.


– The Equifax data breach – what should you do next?

Turmoil at the CFPB

It comes after a turbulent few months at the CFPB, which announced its investigation into Equifax in September under the guidance of then director Richard Cordray.

It came amid wide criticism of the CFPB by Republican politicians and the White House that the body was an example of regulatory overreach since the financial crisis, CNBC reports.

Supporters of the bureau however see it as playing a vital role in sterner watchdog efforts over the country's biggest financial institutions, whose cavalier approach to mortgage-backed securities was a huge factor in the global downturn a decade ago.

Now under the leadership of Mulvaney, the CFPB is suddenly taking a more conciliatory approach to big banks and lenders, with NPR reporting last month that CFPB lawsuits against payday lenders charging as much as 900 percent interest have been dropped since he took over.

So Equifax won't face any action?

Not necessarily. Equifax is still under investigation by every state attorney general in the country and is subject to more than 240 class action lawsuits.

The Huffington Post reports that the Federal Trade Commission is also investigating, though notes that the CFPB typically issues far bigger penalties.

The FTC's last settlement with a credit bureau, for example, was $393,000 with Equifax in 2012. The CFPB meanwhile fined major bureaus $25 million last year for over-marketing its credit monitoring services.

CNS reported recently that Equifax is the second most hated company in America, behind Fox and ahead of the NFL.

Remember to file your taxes early if possible

Now that tax season is underway, it might be a good time to think about getting your tax return in asap.

Since social security numbers were among the data compromised in the Equifax hack, there's a risk that hackers could use that information fraudulently on your behalf, getting a refund from the government before you can.

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