The Federal Trade Commission said massive consumer reporting agency Equifax Information Services (EFX) agreed to settle charges it improperly sold lists of homeowners late on mortgage payments to firms "that should not have received them."
Equifax will apply $393,000 to settle the charge.
As part of a separate settlement, Direct Lending Source, which bought said lists and then resold them, will pay a $1.2 million civil penalty.
In conducting these transactions, involving 17,000 homeowners, the FTC maintains the two firms are in violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
According to the agency’s complaint, the lists contained information about millions of consumers, including sensitive information such as credit scores and whether they were 30, 60, or 90 days late on their mortgage payments.
It was alleged Direct Lending would sell these lists to firms that would reach out to the borrowers with options to fix their credit woes. Some of those firms are now the subject of investigation, the FTC adds.
"Using a pre-screened list for general marketing purposes is not allowed," the FTC statement notes.