CitiFinancial Warns 3.9 Million Customers of Computer Tape Loss

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CitiFinancial, a consumer lending branch of Citigroup, New York, said yesterday that it has begun notifying 3.9 million of its U.S. branch network customers that computer tapes containing personal information were lost on the way to a credit bureau.


In addition to data on current U.S. CitiFinancial branch network customers, the tapes also contained information on closed accounts from CitiFinancial Retail Services but included no data from CitiFinancial Auto, CitiFinancial Mortgage or any other Citigroup business, the firm said. Personal information on the tapes included names, Social Security numbers, account numbers and payment histories.


The firm also said United Parcel Service was transporting the tapes at the time of their disappearance but that there was no evidence that accounts had been accessed as a result.


The letter sent to consumers by CitiFinancial said, "You should know that there is little risk of your account being compromised because you have already received your loan. No additional credit may be obtained from CitiFinancial without your approval, either by initiating a new application or by providing positive proof of identification."


CitiFinancial noted in the letter that it is offering all affected consumers free credit monitoring and enrollment in its Citi Identity Theft Solutions program.


Bank of America similarly confirmed Feb. 25 that some of its computer data tapes containing personal and account information for 1.2 million federal government charge card program customers were lost during shipment to a backup data center.


High-profile data breaches began coming to light early this year when data provider ChoicePoint notified 35,000 California consumers that their information may have been accessed in late January as required by state law. On Feb. 16, it said another 110,000 letters would be sent nationwide involving the fraud.


LexisNexis on March 9 said personal information of 32,000 consumers had been accessed through misappropriation of legitimate customer identifications and passwords from its Seisint database. After an internal investigation, it announced April 12 that another 280,000 consumers were at risk.


Kristen Bremner covers list news, insert media, privacy and fundraising for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters


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