PORTLAND, Maine — CBS 13 is digging up new details after hundreds of confidential credit reports were sent in the mail to a woman in southern Maine. CBS 13 first reported the story last week of a security breach involving Equifax – one of the major credit reporting agencies. Now we’ve discovered the company admitted it’s responsible for making a mistake.
For the past week, CBS 13 has been trying to get answers from Equifax about how a Biddeford woman ended up with more than 300 credit reports that aren’t hers, but the Atlanta-based company isn’t responding to phone calls and emails from CBS 13. However, documents filed with the state, by lawyers for Equifax, are filling in some of the blanks.
This comes after CBS 13 reported last week about the hundreds of credit reports Katie Manning got in the mail, all addressed to her, but belonging to strangers across the country. Envelopes on her kitchen table were stuffed with full names, social security numbers, birthdays, and credit card account information.
CBS 13 obtained a document filed with the Office of the Maine Attorney General and the Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection.
“The inadvertent disclosure of information was the result of a technical error,” Phyllis Sumner, a lawyer for Equifax, wrote.
“We have no evidence of any criminal access,” Sumner added.
Portland Attorney Sigmund Schutz isn’t representing Equifax in this case but has advised many companies on what to do after a security breach and says it appears Equifax is taking the proper steps. Schutz says Equifax should also be working to get to the root cause of that technical error.
“Sending 300 separate letters to the same address, one random individual, you would hope that would send off a red flag somewhere for some checking,” Schutz said.
Multiple calls and emails to Equifax Vice President of Communications and Public Relations Tim Klein over several days were not returned, but the letter to the state indicates Equifax continues to “investigate this incident” and will mail notification to anyone who’s impacted.
“One hopes this experience then makes it even more unlikely someone will have the same experience,” Schutz said.
The Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection says all the credit reports were given back to Equifax on Monday. The state continues to investigate and regulators say Equifax could face state and federal fines.