Credit reporting agency Equifax has been dealing with the fallout of a massive information leak in the past few months. The leak contains the private credit data and personal information of approximately 143 million Americans, and an undisclosed number of others worldwide. One of the more egregious areas of the leak is in Equifax’s Argentine employee portal Veraz and its web tool called Ayuda. This web application was poorly guarded with insecure passwords and contained the details of thousands of credit inquiries made by Argentinian customers challenging parts of their credit reports. These inquiries and the information they contain include everything from personal financial data to government identification details and leave those whose information has been exposed openly to fraud and identity theft. For those who travel or do business in Argentina, or are worried their details might be at risk, it is important to understand the details of the information leak, and what steps to take next.
What Does the Leak Entail?
Equifax holds data on over 820 million customers, as well as 91 million businesses. It provides credit reporting, employment verification, and identity theft monitoring services. Veraz, an online portal for employees of the Argentine branch of Equifax, was a tool that employees used to access customer information and investigate credit report challenges. Credit report challenges are a relatively common process where someone has either a fraudulent or uncharacteristic payment on their credit history that is damaging their credit score and report either the reason for the late payment to the creditor or the potential fraud to the credit reporting agency to regain back the points lost to their credit score. For those curious about how to get a late payment removed from your credit report, numerous online tools exist to help, and for those worried about fraudulent activity, there are easy steps that can be taken to secure information and financial records.
What to Do Next?!
Luckily, Argentine business culture has reached new standards in recent years and new regulations are in place that creates a highly accountable business environment. The fallout from the leak of information will likely be minimized by the swift response of regulatory agencies. For those concerned about the security of their data in Argentina, it is important to be cautious about where to pursue information. Many phishing and fraud scams pop up after leaks like this in an attempt to gather more information about those who have already been compromised. One method for securing credit profiles after a potential leak is to freeze one’s credit file and keep it locked down so it cannot be accessed unless explicitly instructed by the person whose profile it is. Various banks and credit monitoring services also offer fraud reporting services and heightened security protocol opt-ins that keep a close watch on activity on designated accounts for a period of time.
If you, or someone you do business with in Argentina is potentially at risk, contact your bank and credit reporting agency to freeze your profile and sign up for fraud protection reporting measures. Given Argentina’s noticeable improvements to business infrastructure and security in recent years, this leak will likely prompt a regulatory overhaul, making the country an even safer place to live and do business in.
If you have any other inquiries or questions on how to manage business risk in Argentina or Latin America, Biz Latin Hub can help you. We can assist with all aspects of your Argentinian investment, ensuring smooth sailing as you enter and operate within the region. Get in contact and see how we can add value to your Argentinian investment and bring you peace of mind as you invest in the region.
See this video for valuable information regarding the need for due diligence services in Latin America!