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Homeowners panic, unable to make payments after major financial company attacked

ORLANDO, Fla. — Property owners trying to make their monthly mortgage payments were left in the dark and unable to pay their bills after one of the nation’s biggest mortgage servicers was targeted in a cyberattack earlier this month.

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Until Tuesday morning, people trying to log into their Loancare accounts were greeted by error messages, while the company’s automated phone system and customer service representatives couldn’t provide many answers to questions.

“I can’t access (the) website and can’t get anyone on the phone,” Amanda Phillips wrote in a public Facebook group dedicated to Loancare problems. “Am I just supposed to not pay my mortgage payment?”

Over on Reddit, rumors swirled about when the system would come back online, with frustrated customers echoing Phillips’ sentiment.

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Loancare’s parent company, Jacksonville-based Fidelity National Financial, filed a notice with the SEC on Nov. 19, stating the company had been the victim of a cyberattack.

“Based on our investigation to date, FNF has determined that an unauthorized third party accessed certain FNF systems and acquired certain credentials. The investigation remains ongoing at this time,” the notice said. “We are working diligently to address the incident and to restore normal operations as quickly and safely as possible.”

Techcrunch reported the ransomware gang known as ALPHV claimed responsibility for the attack.

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Before Tuesday, the company’s leadership said little about the attack outside of the filing and did not respond to any of WFTV’s messages.

As customer concerns grew, the company acknowledged the ongoing situation by replacing the error messages on its website with an update on its landing page, advising customers to hold tight.

“No late charges will be incurred, and there will be no negative credit reporting due to the outage. We will let you know as soon as we’re back online,” the statement said.

Atlantic Bay Mortgage’s Scott Fosgate, who does business with Loancare, said his company’s leadership began releasing advice to their customers on Monday but didn’t have any insider information.

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He said he had never seen an attack of this magnitude in his industry.

“People start getting nervous, right?” he asked. “I mean, no one wants their credit to be affected.”

Fosgate said he was surprised Loancare didn’t share information with customers sooner.

Many questions about the situation still need to be answered, such as how automatic payments are impacted and customers who were late paying November’s bill.

Company executives have not given a timeline for their services to come back online, nor have they said if any sensitive customer data was breached.

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