Some 2.5 million more people than originally reported were affected by the recent Equifax data breach, the credit bureau said Monday. The estimate of the number of Americans whose personal information was potentially exposed is now 145.5 million—the largest hack on record. Cybersecurity firm Mandiant, which was hired by Equifax to investigate the hack, found the additional compromised accounts in a forensic review.
The information hackers were able to extract includes consumers’ names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and driver’s license numbers. “I am deeply sorry that this occurred,” former Equifax CEO Richard F. Smith, who stepped down last week, said in a statement Monday. “Equifax was entrusted with Americans’ private data, and we let them down.”
The real estate industry is warning that the Equifax breach could put home sales at risk. For consumers whose information was stolen, it could become harder to get approval for a mortgage, or their info could be used for unlawful real estate transactions. Rob Douglas, an identity theft expert, predicts there will be an increase in fraudulent mortgage and refinance applications due to the Equifax breach. Some loan officers who have put additional vetting procedures in place could slow the loan approval process and burden borrowers with extra costs.
Source: “2.5 Million More People Potentially Exposed in Equifax Breach,” The New York Times (Oct. 2, 2017)