|LendingTree filed a fraud lawsuit against several individuals and companies over stolen lead data.
In a letter dated April 21, the Charlotte, N.C.-based mortgage lead generation company told customers that it recently discovered former employees may have shared their confidential passwords with “a handful of mortgage lenders.”
Without LendingTree’s consent, the lenders were able to gain access to customer data, including names, contact information, social security numbers and other income and employment information, according to the letter. They then used the data to market their own loan programs directly to LendingTree customers.
LendingTree reports more than $185 billion in loans have funded from 23 million loan requests it has facilitated since founding in 1998. Affiliated companies include GetSmart and HomeLoanCenter.com.
The privacy breaches were detected from an internal investigation and are suspected to have occurred between October 2006 and this year. LendingTree said it immediately made changes to its system security upon learning of the problem.
“When we learned of this situation, we quickly contacted the authorities, and LendingTree is helping with their investigation,” the letter read. “We also brought lawsuits against those involved.”
LendingTree LLC, which claims to be “the nation’s number one online lending exchange,” filed a fraud lawsuit in Orange County Superior Court on Monday.
Named as defendants are Chapman Capital Inc., Home Loan Consultants Inc. and Newport Lending Corp. Also named are Sage Credit Co. and Southern California Marketing Corp.
Among individuals named as defendants are Gavin Monger, Quentin Caruana, Steve Rosene, Leard Edward Brown, Gildardo Mariscal, Brian Rich, Jennifer Rosene and John Bucherine.
A LendingTree spokeswoman would not comment beyond what was stated in the customer letter.
LENDINGTREE LLC VS. NEWPORT LENDING CORPORATION – Case No. 30-2008-00062376-CU-FR-CXC
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