Investors punish Equifax for massive data breach

This July 21, 2012, photo shows Equifax Inc., offices in Atlanta. Credit monitoring company Equifax says a breach exposed social security numbers and other data from about 143 million Americans. The Atlanta-based company said Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017, that "criminals" exploited a U.S. website application to access files between mid-May and July of this year. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart)

NEW YORK — Investors bailed out on Equifax Friday after the credit monitoring company said a data breach exposed the Social Security numbers and other personal data of 143 million Americans.

Equifax shares fell nearly 14 percent to $123.23 in heavy trading. The decline equates to about $2.35 billion in lost market value.

The company is one of three major U.S. credit bureaus, the declines extended to its competitors. TransUnion fell 4 percent and Experian stock declined 1 percent in London.

Lenders rely on the information collected by the credit bureaus to help them decide whether to approve financing for homes, cars and credit cards. Credit checks are even sometimes done by employers when deciding whom to hire for a job.

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