Richard Smith, Equifax (EFX)
Speaking of how corporate fraud rarely meets with real justice, we turn now to Equifax, a consumer credit reporting agency that offers credit monitoring and fraud prevention services. On the 18th of September it was reported that Equifax had been hacked, and that information on 145.5 million Americans was compromised. This was not the first “mega-hack” on this scale—Yahoo apparently had account that had every Yahoo account that had ever existed hacked, a total of $3 billion, but the Equifax hack was worse, in that it necessarily meant the compromise of sensitive data, and because many people were hacked because they were paying Equifax to protect them from such a hack. Ouch.
After his company harmed so many Americans, Richard Smith did what any awful CEO would do—he came up with a plan to keep himself out of trouble. He set up a web page where consumers could go and see if they had been hacked, while hiding in the fine print that by using the site, they were giving up the right to join in future class action lawsuits against the company. It’s not clear what made him think he could hold consumers hostage, but the plan backfired and ended up just making him and the company look worse.
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