Equifax (NYSE:EFX) stock has been getting crushed after Equifax executives dumped stock following now infamous data breach.
The hackers pilfered names, birthdays and addresses, as well as Social Security and driver’s license numbers – a treasure trove for identity thieves. Data of up to 143 million people may have been affected.
Three days after Equifax discovered the breach, three top company executives, including Chief Financial Officer John Gamble and a president of a unit, sold Equifax shares or exercised options to dispose of stock worth about $1.8 million, regulatory filings show.
Equifax said in a statement last week that the executives were not aware that an intrusion had occurred when they sold their shares.
Any investigation of alleged insider trading would likely involve the Securities and Exchange Commission. A spokesman for SEC Chairman Jay Clayton declined to comment, citing a policy of refusing to confirm or deny ongoing investigations.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation said it was investigating the Equifax hack. “We understand the significance of this incident and take these types of breaches very seriously,” said Special Agent Stephen Emmett at the FBI’s Atlanta office.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin on Tuesday called the Equifax breach “quite unfortunate” and insisted that his top priority is to make sure financial data is safe.
“I am concerned about the global financial system and keeping it safe,” Mnuchin said at the CNBC Institutional Investor Delivering Alpha Conference in New York, adding that he was having meetings about the cyber attack.
Also on Tuesday, Senator Gary Peters, a Democrat, called on the FTC to launch a probe on whether the company misled consumers by saying it considered protecting customer information a top priority.
The acting FTC chair, Maureen Ohlhausen, said her agency was aware of the massive breach but declined to say if an investigation was underway.
“We’re trying to get a handle on the scope of all of this. We’re certainly taking this very seriously,” she told reporters on the sidelines of an antitrust conference.
The agency has historically probed big breaches but only sued companies that it deemed had been sloppy in protecting consumer data.
is it criminal? Public opinion is needed.