Countrywide Insider Case Bigger than Initially RevealedLender Adjusts Massachusetts Impact from 3 Residents to 45,000
After first informing the State of Massachusetts that only three of its citizens were affected by the data theft, Countrywide has now revealed that, as a result of an internal investigation, as many as 45,282 Massachusetts residents are "at risk."
Massachusetts and other states' attorney generals are probing the lender's data theft for proof of exactly how many of their state's consumers are affected by this crime. Massachusetts state law requires agencies that store consumer's personal information to issue notifications of security breaches as soon as practicable and without unreasonable delay.
In August a former Countrywide employee was arrested and charged with downloading customer information while he worked at the firm, and reselling it to data brokers over a two-year period. The data was sold to mortgage brokers for sales leads. The FBI says that as many as 2 million mortgage loan applicants could have had their data stolen, and while the mortgage lender denies that figure, it has not produced its own estimate. Countrywide has stated it did not know of any cases where the stolen data was used by criminals to obtain credit.
Two Countrywide customers have sued the lender and its parent company, Bank of America, in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, accusing them of failing to protect customers' sensitive information. The suit asks that it be certified as a class action.
For those applicants whose data was stolen, Countrywide is offering free credit monitoring by Experian's business unit, ConsumerInfo.com. The daily monitoring service includes e-mail alerts of significant changes in credit reports.