A settlement between Countrywide Financial Corporation and several million customers – victims of a security breach at the bank – was recently approved by a federal judge. According to a story by the Associated Press, up to 17 million people were affected by the theft, including anyone who used Countrywide as a mortgage servicer prior to July 1 2008.
The security breach occured from 2006 to August, 2008, when a senior analyst for Countrywide downloaded personal data – including mortgage details, social security numbers, birthdates, and credit card information – from up to 20,000 customers per week, later selling the data to be used for identity theft.
Customers of Countrywide were left at high risk for identity theft as a result of the theft of personal information from the bank. All 17 million customers are eligible for no-cost credit monitoring service to protect their personal information. This service will continue for two years to catch unauthorized credit activity arising as a result of the bank’s security breach. Those whose identities were stolen as a result of the breach are eligible for up to $50,000 in compensation, provided that they are able to prove the loss.