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The Mountain West Credit Union Association (MWCUA) announced today that it is joining the Credit Union National Association’s (CUNA) class-action lawsuit against credit-monitoring firm Equifax. The decision was made in the best interest of the Association’s 125 credit unions and more than 3.2 million credit union members in Arizona, Colorado and Wyoming.

The breach at Equifax put 146 million U.S. customers’ personal information at risk and included 209,000 credit card account numbers. That risk is passed on to credit unions and other financial institutions because Equifax failed to secure its website, ignored warnings from security experts and delayed reporting the breach, which was only partially disclosed Sept. 7, 2017.

“We have not seen a data breach of this magnitude before and the potential impacts to credit unions and their members is unprecedented,” said Scott Earl, president & CEO of MWCUA. “The Association joined this suit both to help protect our affiliated credit unions and to hold Equifax accountable for the fallout from this breach. Protecting members is a top priority of all credit unions. We may not know the full impact of this extensive breach for years. The costs to credit unions will be significant.”

Credit unions will incur financial losses related to crisis services such as canceling and reissuing compromised cards, reimbursing consumers for fraudulent charges, increasing fraudulent activity monitoring, taking appropriate action to mitigate the risk of identity theft and fraudulent loans, sustaining reputational harm, and notifying consumers of potential fraudulent activity. The MWCUA encourages credit unions to join the suit to help recover the costs of resources and damages likely to be associated with the Equifax breach.

“The information accessed and stolen includes names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and in some instances, driver’s license numbers,” said Earl. “Credit and debit card information for approximately 209,000 consumers also was stolen, further increasing the potential for damage to members and credit unions. We believe we need to stand up for the rights of our credit unions and their members.”

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