More than 256,000 Consumers Put at Risk By the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

  • By Steven
  • Published: Apr 24, 2023
  • Last Updated: Apr 25, 2023

CFPB Data Breach

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is a government agency that's tasked with protecting consumers from financial institutions. The agency mostly works to prevent companies from charging outrageous fees and surcharges to customers, but it helps with monitoring how consumer data is being used by companies as well. The function of the agency seems a bit ironic after discovering it recently suffered from a major data breach where one of its own employees stole data for more than 256,000 consumers. The data taken could put many consumers at risk, could be misused in many different ways, and is a serious issue that should be taken care of as soon as possible. 

How Did the Attack Occur?

This breach at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau occurred before March 21, 2023, when a single employee at the company sent data for over 256,000 consumers to a personal email account. The huge amount of data stolen poses a major security risk for countless Americans and may lead to issues for them in the future. The employee has since been fired, but it's difficult to ensure the stolen information cannot be misused. There isn't a clear trail from the employee account to other accounts, but that doesn't guarantee the information wasn't backed up in some other way. 

What Information Was Viewed or Stolen?

A variety of data was stolen from the CFPB during this data breach. Much of the data doesn't have specific consumer names on it, but it does have details such as credit scores, lender names, account numbers, income amounts, and other demographic information. More than 14 emails were sent to the personal account with spreadsheets and other data files that put users at risk in significant ways. 

How Did the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Admit to the Breach?

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau put out reports and statements to many different agencies explaining the situation. The Office of Inspector General is receiving regular updates and reports regarding this issue, and anyone involved that has been exposed to this recent breach will receive a letter explaining the situation. The office must report to many other agencies and companies and will be working to keep everyone updated as more information about the breach is learned. 

What Will Become of the Stolen Information?

It's difficult to say what exactly the leaked data will be used for, if anything. Officials from the CFPB don't believe the data will be used beyond the personal email account it was sent to, but there is no way to guarantee that or that it hasn't already been distributed elsewhere. 

What Should Affected Parties Do in the Aftermath of the Breach?

Any impacted individuals that had their personal and financial data shared will be notified specifically that they are at risk. If you receive a notice from the CFPB stating that your data was misused, you should take immediate action to protect yourself. Begin by checking your credit reports for any strange activity. Follow that up with monitoring your financial accounts closely, and consider putting a freeze on your credit accounts to keep them safe from future misuse.

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