Adam Constantine on MLK Jr.’s impact on housing equality

During the interview, Constantine explains why the industry needs to focus on evoking intentional change rather than launching lackluster initiatives.

Navigating capacity concerns amidst record-high volumes

High loan volumes continues to loom large in the new year, making the “one-stop-shop” approach to the servicing and lending process even more appealing.

Amid record-high origination volumes, mortgage fraud risk is down

CoreLogic's recently released Mortgage Fraud Report is the industry standard for nationwide fraud monitoring and analysis. Read the findings here.

How student loan debt impact homeownership

Student loan expert Catalina Kaiyoorawongs shares her practical and tangible advice for people who feel overwhelmed by their student loan debt.

Politics & MoneyMortgageReal Estate

Equifax agrees to pay up to $700 million for data breach

Credit reporting agency settles federal and state probes into 2017 mega-hack

Equifax, one of the nation’s top three credit reporting agencies, agreed to pay up to $700 million to settle federal and state investigations into the 2017 hack that exposed Social Security numbers and other personal data of almost half the population of the U.S.

“Companies that profit from personal information have an extra responsibility to protect and secure that data,” Federal Trade Commission Chairman Joe Simons said in a statement. “Equifax failed to take basic steps that may have prevented the breach.”

The settlement requires Equifax to pay at least $575 million that includes $300 million for credit monitoring services, $175 million to states and $100 million in penalties to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Another $125 million could be added to that if the initial amount is not enough to cover consumers' losses, bringing the total potential tab to up to $700 million.

Regulators accused Equifax of failing to patch a known security flaw that enabled hackers to swipe about 147 million names and dates of birth, 145.5 million Social Security numbers and 209,000 payment card numbers and expiration dates in 2017. It was one of the largest data breaches in U.S. history.

The FTC also said Equifax stored Social Security numbers and other consumer data in plain text files, which makes them more vulnerable to criminal activity. As part of the deal, Equifax agreed to meet a set standard for security systems and protocols.

"This comprehensive settlement is a positive step for U.S. consumers and Equifax as we move forward from the 2017 cybersecurity incident and focus on our transformation investments in technology and security as a leading data, analytics, and technology company," Equifax CEO Mark W. Begor said in a statement. 

Equifax said in May it had set aside $690 million in the first quarter to cover losses from the data breach. Begor said then that the company expects those funds to go toward losses connected with a “potential global resolution of the consumer class-action cases and the investigations by certain federal and state regulators.” According to the company, that amount did not include the company’s legal and professional services expenses.

The settlement will make available a total of $425 million for the time and money consumers spent to protect themselves from potential threats of identity theft, as well as losses stemming from identity theft, CFPB Director Kathleen Kraninger said in a statement. 

“We encourage consumers impacted by the breach to submit their claims in order to receive free credit monitoring or cash reimbursements,” she said.

Information on submitting claims, including payment of $25 an hour for up to 20 hours consumers may have spent dealing with the breach, can be found at ftc.gov/Equifax. To check your eligibility, click here. To file a claim, click here.

The FTC also set up a "whistleblower" email address for Equifax employees to report violations of the agreement: equifax@ftc.gov.

The regulator said it "encourages Equifax employees who believe the company is failing to adhere to its data security promise to email the FTC."

Most Popular Articles

Prepare for the rise in mortgage rates

Economists offer their takes on how high mortgage rates will climb, how lenders will respond and what impact this will have on the housing market. HW+ Premium Content

Jan 18, 2021 By

Latest Articles

2020 ends with 3.4 million loans in delinquency

The final delinquency tally for December is in, with data revealing that by end of 2020, 1.54 million more mortgages were reported delinquent.

Jan 22, 2021 By
3d rendering of a row of luxury townhouses along a street

Log In

Forgot Password?

Don't have an account? Please