Equifax contests Warren claim that breach exposed passport numbers

Equifax contests Warren claim that breach exposed passport numbers
© Getty Images

Equifax is contesting part of a report from Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenDemocrats opposed to Pelosi lack challenger to topple her More Massachusetts Voters Prefer Deval Patrick for President than Elizabeth Warren Trump's trade war — firing all cannons or closing the portholes? MORE (D-Mass.) that alleged the credit reporting agency “failed to disclose” that consumers’ passport numbers were exposed in a massive data breach last year.

Meredith Griffanti, a spokeswoman for Equifax, said that the company has no reason to believe that passport numbers were compromised.

“We examined passport numbers as an element of our forensic investigation, however we found no evidence that any passport numbers were affected, accessed or stolen,” Griffanti told The Hill.

ADVERTISEMENT

Warren’s report, which was released Wednesday, claims that “Equifax failed to disclose the fact that the hackers gained access to consumers’ passport numbers.”

Warren's office said on Wednesday afternoon that the passage in the report was based on a document that Equifax sent to the Senate Banking Committee last month that appeared to include passport numbers on a list of types of information that were stolen.

“Equifax hid this breach from the public for weeks, then gave consumers confusing information about whether their data had been stolen, then told Congress one thing and is saying something totally different today," Lacy Rose, a spokeswoman for Warren, said in a statement. "Equifax needs to get its story straight – with the Senate Banking Committee and with the American people.” 

The report accuses Equifax of failing to implement necessary safeguards and criticizes its response to the breach that exposed the sensitive personal information of nearly half the country. It also emphasized the need for lawmakers and regulators to ensure credit bureaus are taken to task for leaving consumer information vulnerable.

“For years, Equifax and other big credit reporting agencies have been able to get away with profiting off cheating people,” Warren said in a statement. “Our report provides answers about what went wrong at Equifax and concludes that to hold Equifax and its peers accountable, we need real consequences for when they screw up."

Updated: 5:41 p.m.