FTC launches Equifax breach probe, warns consumers about credit scammers

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The Federal Trade Commission said Thursday it has opened an investigation into the Equifax data breach, which resulted in the data of as many as 143 million consumers being exposed to hackers.

If past is prologue, the outcome of any investigation or legal action from the FTC won't equate to any fines being levied against the Atlanta-based credit bureau. The agency doesn't have any power to do that. Instead, the probe likely will conclude with a legal settlement where Equifax promises to shore up its tech and agree to auditing. Earlier this month, for example, the FTC announced the conclusion of its look into Lenovo's conduct of pre-installing man-in-the-middle adware. In the end, the agency ordered the company to disclose to consumers if it was going to install the software on new computers, and the organization ordered outside monitoring of Lenovo's compliance. Lenovo, of China, admitted no wrongdoing.

In the Equifax mess, the agency also issued a warning Thursday to consumers to be wary of nefarious and fake Equifax employees calling to verify your stolen data. Don't give it to them, the FTC says, as it's not Equifax calling—scammers are randomly calling people and posing as Equifax employees "to verify your account information."

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