Three Words No Company Wants to Hear: Class Action Suit

Posted July 28, 2015

Security Expert Brian Krebs Reports That Credit Bureau Experian Is Being Sued after 13,673 Americans Had Personal Info Compromised

By both hacking into databases and posing as a private eye, Hieu Minh Ngo, a 25-year-old Vietnamese citizen, managed to gain access to approximately 200 million records and sell them for $2 million. He also gained access to a jail cell for the next thirteen years — barring early release for good behavior.

On his blog, KrebsOnSecurity, Krebs discusses the case and how Experian got tangled up in Ngo’s web of criminal activity. The following has been excerpted from Krebs’ blog and edited to fit our format. You may find the full story by clicking on this link.

Ngo commits a no-no

[Ngo illegally gained] access to databases belonging to some of the world’s largest data brokers, including…Court Ventures — a company that Experian acquired in 2012. [For] nearly ten months after Experian acquired Court Ventures, Ngo continued paying for his customers’ data searches via cash wire transfers from a bank in Singapore.

Ngo’s service sold…packages of consumer data that could be used to commit identity theft in victims’ names.

Fraudulent income tax returns cost Americans $65 million

13,673 U.S. citizens, whose stolen personal information was sold on Ngo’s websites, have been victimized through the filing of $65 million in fraudulent individual income tax returns.

Class action lawsuit

The class action lawsuit…seeks statutory damages for Experian’s alleged violations of, among other statutes, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The plaintiffs also want the court to force Experian to notify all consumers affected by Ngo’s service; to provide them free credit monitoring services; to disgorge all profits made from Ngo’s service; and to establish a fund (in an amount to be determined) to which victims can apply for reimbursement of the time and out-of-pocket expenses they incurred to remediate the identity theft and fraud caused by customers of Ngo’s ID theft service.

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