T-Mobile has been under fire since the Experian breach last week, comprising valuable personal information of over 15 million customers held by the credit reporting agency. They are also facing a growing pile of lawsuits from numerous disgruntled customers, which could put the company in serious trouble. T-Mobile is desperately trying to control the damage by playing the victim and blaming Experian for the breach, and rightly so, and also providing free credit checks and identity theft protection. But they are not quite letting you in on the full story. For the uninitiated, T-Mobile issues a contract to Experia, a company popular for Freecreditreports.com to perform credit checks. And Experian was recently broken into by hackers, who stole social security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and driver license numbers of about 15 million people, including some notable personalities available the services provided by T-Mobile.
This is serious theft of personal information, and T-Mobile CEO John Legere recently published a letter apologizing and claiming that he wants to be ‘direct, transparent and honest’ with everyone involved. Unfortunately, previous history tells us a completely different story: one of the dirty secrets T-Mobile is desperate to cover, by trying to be victim of the incident.
This is not the first time T-Mobile has been involved in a breach. Of course, no one is perfect, and it stands for data security as well. But a glaring omission from T-Mobile’s statement has been the fact that Experian was wholly responsible for the previous breach as well. This incident occurred in December 2013, and after the discovery, T-Mobile took almost a month to own up to the incident, that a breach had occurred with a supplier named Decisioning Solutions. The catch here is: this supplier was owned by the very company that is now the cause of all the lawsuits against T-Mobile – Experian itself. Experian has acquired Decisioning Solutions in December 2013.
Now, there is some bad news for you if you thought T-Mobile would cut all ties with Experian right then. Instead it outsourced credit protection service to ProtectMyID, a service provided by Experian. The same company responsible for the breach was given the responsibility to protect it. And that’s only the beginning, with history repeating itself in an ironic manner. Instead of fixing its mistakes, T-Mobile is still giving business to Experian. With two years of free credit monitoring from ProtectMyID, again.
The five class action lawsuits against T-Mobile doesn’t seem misplaced now, as personal data is kept guarded for a reason, and protecting it with all measures available should be top priority for all companies. A sixth, as reported by Bloomberg has been filed against Experian. It’s about time this loop sees an end, once and for all.