When news broke late on Thursday that a data breach at Equifax had potentially exposed the personal information of as many 143 U.S. consumers, phones started ringing off the hook at rival credit reporting bureau TransUnion, Chief Financial Officer Todd Cello said Tuesday.
Speaking at the Barclays Financial Services Conference in New York, Cello described how TransUnion’s call centers and website were “overwhelmed” by panicked consumers looking for information about how to protect themselves from identity theft. The company kept its call centers open through the weekend and engaged a third party to help it handle the increased volume of calls. Cello said he’s still not totally satisfied with the response and abandon rates on those calls, and that the credit bureau is working round-the-clock to handle those inquiries, but he made clear that customers’ data remains safe.
At this point in time, we have no reason to believe that we’ve been subject to a similar type of breach,” he said.
Cello went on to talk about the investments TransUnion had made in cybersecurity, describing it as a “24/7 function.” The company consistently updates its monitoring tools and patches its software and has hired teams of cybersecurity experts from areas like law enforcement, government and the military.
“This is probably our No. 1 risk and the fact that it happened to someone in the industry obviously is disheartening to us, but it validates why we make the investments that we do,” he said.
Alluding to a website application vulnerability that allowed hackers to gain access to the personally identifiable information of as many as half of American consumers, Cello said that TransUnion uses the same software, “as do most Fortune 100 companies.”
While he did not give any specifics around what the company has spent dealing with the heavy influx of customer concerns, he said, “we’re not sparing any expense.”
“We want to make certain the consumer is taken care of in this situation,” Cello said. “This may have happened to a competitor, but the consumer still calls us.”