Mortgage Lender Reveals 2 Million-Name Data Loss

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National mortgage provider ABN AMRO Mortgage Group Inc., a subsidiary of LaSalle Bank Corp., said that a computer tape holding personal information on 2 million residential mortgage customers was lost last month while in transit to an Experian credit bureau facility.


According to a Dec. 16 statement by ABN AMRO, the tape was lost after being picked up from its Chicago data processing center by courier DHL on Nov. 18 bound for Experian's Allen, TX, location.


Data on the tape included names, account information, payment histories and Social Security numbers. The press release did not say whether the data were encrypted, and an ABN AMRO spokesman did not immediately return a call for comment.


The company sent letters to its affected customers Dec. 16 offering them 90 days' worth of free credit monitoring services. It also set up a Web site at www.info.mortgage.com to provide information about the breach.


"We understand that this incident may cause concern for our customers, and we deeply regret that it has occurred," ABN AMRO chairman/CEO Thomas M. Goldstein said in the statement. "We have begun notifying our customers and are dedicating resources to assist them and to answer any questions they may have. Although we have no reason to believe that this information has been misused, we are also informing them of steps they can take to protect themselves."


Aside from an internal investigation by ABN AMRO, DHL and federal law enforcement were informed as well as the Office of the Comptroller of Currency and the Federal Reserve Board.


In addition, ABN AMRO has suspended the shipping of data on tapes in favor of encrypted electronic transmission.


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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