Security & Fraud

FTC Nabs Brokers For Selling Consumers’ Bank Credentials

The Federal Trade Commission said on Wednesday (March 9) that it requested, and a federal district court granted, bans on seven people, Ideal Financial Solutions and that company’s subsidiaries from collecting or disclosing consumer information. The court, in turn, imposed nearly $80 million in judgments against the defendants.

The FTC said in a press release that it filed its lawsuit in 2013 but that, before then, the people and entities banned had operated a “massive scam” that took money from consumer accounts without authorization.

Through their scheme, the defendants bought consumer payday loan applications from websites, among other conduits, and used the Social Security numbers and bank account data to steal money from consumers. The FTC has also sued the data brokers who sold that financial information to Ideal Financial, naming those parties as Sitesearch Corp. (also known as LeapLab), Gen X Marketing Group and Sequoia One.

Consequently, $43 million in judgments were levied against Steven Sunyich, Christopher Sunyich, Michael Sunyich and Melissa Sunyich Gardner. Separately, a $36.5 million judgment was levied against Jared Mosher. The FTC said the “ringleaders,” Jared Mosher, Steven Sunyich and Christopher Sunyich, are banned from marketing, selling and handling any credit-related products or services. All of the defendants have been banned from collecting or disclosing any consumer account numbers not authorized by those consumers.

In a statement that was released in tandem with the announcement, Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, noted: “These defendants bought sensitive personal information from data brokers and used it to steal people’s money. Misusing sensitive data causes real harm to consumers, and I’m pleased that the court banned the defendants from this conduct.”

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