By Stephen Lawson
IDG News Service
A computer tape from a Connecticut bank containing personal data on
90,000 customers was lost in transit recently, the bank reported
People's Bank, based in Bridgeport, Conn., is sending letters to the
affected customers, it said in a press release. The tape contains
information such as names, addresses, Social Security numbers and
checking account numbers. It was bound for the TransUnion credit
reporting bureau, based in Woodlyn, Pa., via UPS, the release said.
UPS is investigating the incident along with all involved parties,
said UPS spokeswoman Heather Robinson. She would not disclose when the
package was lost.
The bank has not received any reports of unauthorized activity on the
affected accounts and has no reason to believe the data has been
improperly used, according to the People's release. The bank considers
misuse of the data "highly unlikely." UPS also has no evidence that
the package was compromised, stolen or received by an unauthorized
person, according to Robinson.
Loss and theft of personal data has taken on a high profile since the
theft of data on 145,000 consumers from credit and personal
information vendor ChoicePoint in February 2005. Since that time,
there have been dozens of reported cases of loss or theft of personal
information involving more than 52 million people, according to a
chronology compiled by the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, in San Diego.
Among them was the loss of a computer backup tape from Bank of America
containing information on 1.2 million customers, according to the
privacy rights group.
There isn't enough information on the People's Bank tape to allow
anyone to get into a customer's account, according to the bank. It
does not contain checking account balances, debit card numbers,
personal identification numbers or birth dates, the statement said. In
addition, the tape can't be read without a mainframe and software,
according to the bank.
The data on the tape involves customers that have a People's Bank
personal credit line, an overdraft protection mechanism for checking
accounts. As a safeguard, the bank will provide affected customers
with a credit monitoring service for one year, at the bank's expense,
to quickly alert customers to possible fraud involving their personal
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