Data broker sued by FTC for allegedly selling consumer info, including bank account numbers

Lifestyle and BudgetAssociated Press

In a first-of-a-kind case, the Federal Trade Commission is targeting a data broker for allegedly selling sensitive consumer information — including bank account numbers — to marketers that authorities said the broker knew had no legitimate need for it.

In its lawsuit, the commission charges that Arizona-based LeapLab bought the payday loan applications of people strapped for money, then turned around and sold that data to third-parties who most often weren't lenders at all. The loan applications contained sensitive information such as a consumer's Social Security number, bank account number and routing number to the bank.

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The FTC says at least one of the marketers buying data from LeapLab used the information to withdraw more than $4 million from consumers' bank accounts without authorization.