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Equifax settles US charges of improperly selling consumer data

* Equifax says it admits to no wrongdoing

* Equifax pays $393,000; Direct Lending $1.2 million

* FTC has filed 40 cases against mortgage rescue scams

By Diane Bartz

WASHINGTON, Oct 10 (Reuters) - Consumer credit ratingcompany Equifax Inc has agreed to pay $393,000 to settleallegations that it improperly sold information on consumers whohad fallen behind on their mortgages, the Federal TradeCommission said on Wednesday.

Equifax Information Services LLC improperly sold 17,000 suchlists of consumer information to Direct Lending Source, whichturned around and sold them to companies under investigation forallegedly duping consumers with mortgage rescue scams, the FTCsaid.

Direct Lending Source agreed to pay a $1.2 million civilpenalty.

Equifax ended its business relationship with Direct LendingSource and its affiliates in the summer of 2011, said Equifaxspokesman Tim Klein.

"We reached an agreement with the FTC regarding issues theybrought to our attention regarding Direct Lending, which was aformer customer of Equifax," Klein said. "As part of thissettlement we did not and do not admit to any wrongdoing."

Direct Lending Source could not be located for a comment. Itdoes not appear to have a website and a telephone number listedas belonging to the company has been disconnected.

In the past several years, the FTC has filed more than 40cases against companies that promise mortgage relief servicesbut fail to deliver, the agency said.

(Reporting By Diane Bartz; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)

((Diane.Bartz@thomsonreuters.com)(1 202 898 8313))

Keywords: EQUIFAX FTC/SETTLE