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    Monday Morning Briefing: "I'd rather invest in a company selling nuclear technology to North Korea [than Equifax]"

    Quote of the Week

     

    "I'd rather invest in a company selling nuclear technology to North Korea, because this is nuclear and Equifax is glowing.”

    - Mark Grossman, Author of Technology Law: What Every Business Needs to Know, 9/14 on CNBC

    Watch the Video here

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    First Credit Union Files Suit Against Equifax, JS Online

    Summit Credit Union, based in Madison, Wisconsin, is the first financial institution (but it certainly won’t be the last) to file a lawsuit against Equifax. 

    Summit, which filed the lawsuit on September 11th in federal court in Atlanta, where Equifax is based stated that that Equifax was negligent in securing its website from the hacker intrusion, in failing to detect the intrusion for weeks and in failing to notify consumers of the breach for nearly six weeks. Equifax also knew or should have known that its data security measures were inadequate, the lawsuit states.

    When complete consumer profiles have been compromised, financial institutions experience continuous losses as identity thieves move on from one consumer profile to the next.” Summit asserts In its 37-page lawsuit. "With a breach of this magnitude, there is virtually no limit to the amount of fraudulent account openings financial institutions may face.”

    This statement cuts to the heart of the matter: "Financial institutions are responsible for all charges to these fraudulently opened accounts.

    Ultimately, Summit requests that "Equifax should cover any losses incurred due to their breach.” 

    Summit is asking for orders temporarily and permanently barring Equifax from negligent business practices that are alleged in the lawsuit, along with unspecified costs, restitution and damages.

    Read More.

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    CFPB Posts "Top 10 Ways to Protect Yourself in the Wake of the Equifax Data Breach"

    TL; DR*? 

    Most of these tips were shared in our 5-min vlog on 9/18. Watch or Listen here. 

    1. Review your credit report. You are entitled to a free credit report every 12 months from each of the three major consumer reporting companies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). You can request a copy from AnnualCreditReport.com​​​​​​​. 

    2. Consider a security freeze.  Read about the Pros & cons of a security freeze in our iTod blog post, and also the mechanics of how to actually add that freeze. 

    3. Set up a Fraud Alert. Fraud alerts require that a financial institution verifies your identity before opening a new account, issuing an additional card, or increasing the credit limit on an existing account. A fraud alert won’t prevent lenders from opening new accounts in your name, but it will require that the lenders take additional identification verification steps to make sure that you’re making the request. An initial fraud alert only lasts for 90 days, so you may want to watch for when to renew it. You can also set up an extended alert for identity theft victims, which is good for seven years. 

    4. Read your credit card and bank statements carefully. Look closely for charges you did not make. Even a small charge can be a danger sign. Thieves sometimes will take a small amount from your checking account and then return to take much more if the small debit goes unnoticed.

    5. Don’t ignore bills from people you don’t know. A bill on an account you don’t recognize may be an indication that someone else has opened an account in your name. Contact the creditor to find out.

    6. Shred any documents with personal or sensitive information. Be sure to keep hard copies of financial information in a safe place and be sure to shred them before getting rid of them. 

    7. Change your passwords for all of your financial accounts and consider changing the passwords for your other accounts as well. Be sure to create strong passwords and do not use the same password for all accounts. Don’t use information such as addresses and birthdays in your passwords. For more tips on how to create strong passwords read more on the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) blog 

    8. File your taxes as soon as you can. A scammer can use your Social Security number to get a tax refund. You can try to prevent a scammer  from using your tax information to file and steal your tax refund by making sure you file before they do. Be sure not to ignore any official letters from the IRS and reply as soon as possible. The IRS will contact you by mail; don’t provide any information or account numbers in response to calls or emails.

    9. Active duty servicemembers are eligible for additional protections, and should also monitor their credit carefully. Learn more about what you can do if you’re currently serving at home or abroad.

    10. If you are the parent or guardian of a minor and you think your child’s information has been compromised, here are some steps from the FTC you can take  to protect their information from fraudulent use. If you think you or your child’s identity has already been stolen you can follow checklists and additional steps provided by the FTC to begin recovering  from a case of identity theft. 

    See the original post on the CFPB's website.

    *TL;DR is reddit-speak for "Too Long; Didn't Read"

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    Equifax debacle shows why this rule is needed, CNBC

    A new federal rule that took effect Sept. 18 makes it easier for customers to band together and sue financial firms.

    Consumers, however, may never get to use it.

    That's because a congressional resolution to kill the measure is awaiting action in the Senate. And despite the recent uproar over the inclusion of a mandatory arbitration clause by credit-reporting company Equifax in its free credit-monitoring service agreement — which the company subsequently removed — there's no indication the legislative block won't happen. 

    "I don't think the Equifax brouhaha is going to move the needle on whether the resolution is going to pass or not," said Alan Kaplinsky, a partner with national law firm Ballard Spahr. "It still could go either way."

    The rule, approved by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in July, generally prevents financial firms like credit-card companies and banks from including clauses in agreements that require customers to settle complaints through arbitration, thereby waiving their right to join a class-action lawsuit. While it takes effect today, only new agreements after March 18, 2018, would reflect the change.

    That, of course, assumes Senate Republicans cannot find the votes to support the resolution, which requires only a majority vote (versus bills that require 60 votes to pass). The House passed a resolution to kill it in July, saying it serves the interests of trial lawyers, not consumers.

    The repeal measure is in play due to the Congressional Review Act, which gives lawmakers 60 legislative days to overturn a new rule. That would put the Senate deadline to vote sometime in early November, Kaplinsky said.

    "I think it has a better chance of being passed if it gets put to a vote in the near future instead of waiting," Kaplinsky said.

    The Senate Banking Committee, where the resolution is sitting, is chaired by Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, who has expressed support for the resolution in the past. His office did not respond to a request for comment. Read More. 

    Additional Resources for the Final Rule on Arbitration Agreements:  

    Overview: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau ("CFPB") issued its final rule on arbitration agreements on the 10th of July 2017.  One week ago today, on Monday, the 18th of September, the CFPB released its Small Entity Compliance Guide, which will help you comply with the final arbitration rule. This guidance will help you understand the rule in plain English.​​​​​​​

    • Regsiter for our "Arbitration Agreements: Compliance with New Rule," which currently qualifies for the Early-Bird dog Special price of $199
      • Speaker: Jon Tavares. Date: 12/14. Time: 2PM ET.
      • Note: this webinar will be refunded in whole if the Arbitration Rule is repealed.

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    Public shaming likely but GOP wary of new laws after Equifax, San Francisco Chronicle

    Image result for auntie maxine meme 

    Living Legend & Internet Icon, Rep. "Auntie" Maxine Waters

    Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., is taking another crack at legislation designed to help consumers correct entries in their credit report.

    Under her bill, creditors who send negative information to a reporting agency must also give a heads-up to the consumer. Credit reporting companies would also have to dedicate sufficient resources to handling consumers' appeals. The appeals staff would have to meet minimum training and certification requirements. 

    "Waters' bill would also reduce the time that most adverse credit information may remain on reports. The time period would drop from seven to four years.” Read More.

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    Topics Reports Say Avril Lavigne is the most "Dangerous" celebrity on the internet, The Guardian

    ​​​​​A cybersecurity company has released its annual survey of online celebrity searches associated with malware, with the Canadian singer topping the list. 

    Cybersecurity firm McAfee has released its annual report on the most dangerous celebrities to search for online, with singer Avril Lavigne topping the list.

    The report, which “reveals which celebrities generate the riskiest search results that could potentially expose their fans to malicious websites”, is now in its 11th year, with past lists exposing the dangers of searching celebrities such as Amy Schumer and Emma Watson. On this year’s list, Bruno Mars is in second place , followed by Carly Rae Jepsen, Zayn Malik and Celine Dion. 

    “Cybercriminals continue to use the fascination of consumers with celebrity culture to drive unsuspecting users to potentially malicious websites that can be used to install malware, steal personal information and even passwords,” read a statement from McAfee, whose list also includes data regarding the chances that a search for one of these celebrities will arrive at a suspicious site. Lavigne’s tops the list with a 14.5% risk; that number jumps to 22% when searching the words “Avril Lavigne free mp3”.

    “In today’s digital world, we want the latest hit albums, videos, movies and more, immediately available on our devices,” said Gary Davis, McAfee’s chief consumer security evangelist. “Consumers often prioritize their convenience over security by engaging in risky behavior like clicking on suspicious links that promise the latest content from celebrities. It’s imperative that they slow down and consider the risks associated with searching for downloadable content. Thinking before clicking goes a long way to stay safe online.”

    Lavigne has been absent from the music scene for four years, having struggled with Lyme disease in 2014. She recently announced on Instagram that she would be releasing new music soon, which may have contributed to an increase in malicious sites associated with a search for her name. McAfee also suggested an internet conspiracy that Lavigne has been replaced by an impostor played a role. She is the first female musician to ever rank first on McAfee’s list. Read More

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    TAKE ACTION

    If your Institution is seeking to help accountholders or members affected by this massive data breach, watch or listen to our Equifax Data Breach Vlog webpage. If you're angry and frustrated, take comfort in knowing your feelings are justified and shared by the iTod team. We've written to our regulators and lawmakers to take action to protect Financial Institutions and their customers, and you can too. Send a letter demanding that the following folks investigate the Equifax data breach and provide the US public with answers ASAP:

    (1) NCUA

    Mark A. Treichel

    Executive Director

    National Credit Union Administration

    1775 Duke Street

    Alexandria, VA 22314

     

    (2) FTC (Addressed to both the Acting Chairwoman and Commissioner)

     Hon. Maureen K. Ohlhausen            Hon. Terrell McSweeny

    Acting Chairman                                  Commissioner

    Federal Trade Commission                Federal Trade Commission

    600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW                600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW

    Washington, DC 20580                      Washington, DC 20580

     

    3. CFPB

    Richard Cordray

    Director

    Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

    1700 G. Street, NW

    Washington, DC 20552

    Alexandria, VA 22314

     

    (4) Congress (Senate Majority & Minority Leaders + House Speaker & Minority Leaders)

    The Honorable Mitch McConnell              The Honorable Chuck Schumer

    Majority Leader                                             Minority Leader

    United States Senate                                    United States Senate

    Washington, D.C. 20510                              Washington, D.C. 20510

     

    The Honorable Paul Ryan                        The Honorable Nancy Pelosi

    Speaker                                                         Minority Leader

    U.S. House of Representatives                U.S. House of Representatives

    Washington, D.C. 20515                           Washington, D.C. 20515