More Equifax info exposed than originally disclosed after breach

By Allen Cone  |  Feb. 10, 2018 at 12:56 PM
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Feb. 10 (UPI) -- Equifax's reported hacking of consumers' personal information was more widespread than originally disclosed, according to new documents submitted to a U.S. Senate committee.

The credit reporting agency said cyberthieves accessed tax identification numbers, email addresses and driver's license information of 145.5 million customers -- stretching beyond the scope the company originally revealed, according to documents received by the Senate Banking Committee.

The Wall Street Journal and CNN reviewed the documents sent to the Senate.

In September, Equifax said it had been breached, compromising personal information belonging to 145.5 million consumers, including names, Social Security numbers, dates of birth and addresses, from May through July 2017

Now, documents show that the license state and issue date might have also accessed. Equifax said an insignificant number of email addresses were affected and they are commonly searchable in public domains.

Equifax spokesperson Meredith Griffanti told CNN Money the original disclosure wasn't meant to represent the full list of potentiality exposed information.

"As your company continues to issue incomplete, confusing and contradictory statements and hide information from Congress and the public, it is clear that five months after the breach was publicly announced, Equifax has yet to answer this simple question in full: what was the precise extent of the breach?" Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., wrote in a letter to interim CEO Paulino do Rego Barros Jr.

Barros replaced Richard Smith, who announced after the breach he would retire.

With the data, criminals can open bank accounts and lines of credit, including a credit card or mortgage.

"The more information scammers have about you, the easier it is for them to impersonate you," said Lauren Saunders, associate director at the National Consumer Law Center. "And the easier it is for them to get by the protocols that banks and others use to make sure they are dealing with the right individual."

Equifax, TransUnion and Experian are the top three credit reporting agencies. They gather information on individuals from banks, credit card companies, retailers and public records. to create credit reports, which are used by lenders to determine the risk of a potential borrower.

Equifax has sent mail notices to consumers affected by the breach.

Consumers wondering if they were affected by the breach can check an Equifax information website.

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