FTC Reaches Settlement on Charges Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act and FTC Act Against Seller and Buyers of Consumer Financial Information

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Last week, the Federal Trade Commission, Equifax Information Services LLC and a company and its affiliates that purchased and resold customer lists of consumers who were late on their mortgage payments, settled charges that the customer lists were bought and resold in violation of the FTC Act and Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The FTC described the two settlements as part of the Commission’s ongoing efforts to protect both consumers in financial distress and consumer privacy.

According to the charges, Equifax sold lists of people who met selected criteria (also called “prescreened lists”), including “sensitive information such as credit scores and whether they were 30, 60 or 90 days late on their mortgage payments.” See FTC Press Release (10/10/2012), available at http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2012/10/equifaxdirect.shtm. The purchasers allegedly included Direct Lending Source, Inc., a Florida corporation, and its affiliates, Bailey & Associates Advertising, Inc. and Virtual Lending Source.

Please see full Alert below for further information.

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