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Update: Missing ABN Amro tape with 2 million names found

The tape was lost while DHL was transporting it to a credit reporting service

December 20, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - ABN Amro Mortgage Group said today it has located a tape containing personal data on about 2 million residential mortgage customers that had been lost Nov. 18 while being transported to a credit reporting company.
On Friday, ABN Amro Mortgage Group Inc. told its customers that the tape was lost while being transported by DHL delivery service.
The tape was being moved from a data center run by a subsidiary of LaSalle Bank Corp. in Chicago to an Experian credit bureau facility in Allen, Texas. The tape contained the names, account information, payment histories and social security numbers for residential mortgage customers, according to the letter ABN Amro sent customers on last week.
"We have no reason at this time to believe this information has been misused," ABN Amro Mortgage Group CEO Thomas Goldstein said in a statement (download PDF) before the tape was recovered.
In a statement today, Amro said DHL informed it that the package containing the missing tape was found without the original airbill. "Based on our investigation, we understand that DHL staff opened the package, found the return address on the tape, and repackaged the tape with a new airbill addressed to ABN AMRO Mortgage Group, Inc," ABN Amro said.
The company planned to discuss the matter further at a news conference later today.
The loss of the tape had been investigated by ABN Amro, which is reviewing its tape handling procedures to ensure such losses won't happen again. The company also said initially that iit would enroll its residential mortgage customers in a credit monitoring service for 90 days at no cost. That time frame was extended to one year today.
"We and other lenders routinely provide this information to credit reporting companies to ensure your credit record is up-to-date," the company had said in its letter last week.
One IT manager whose mortgage information was lost and who received a letter notifying him of the missing tape, said that while it may have been a shipping slip up, he is frustrated that no matter how careful he is about identify theft, he's "at the mercy of other entities out there."
The manager said his company, which he asked not to be identified, has a half billion dollars in revenue and performs data replication across private T1s to a disaster recovery site, encrypting that data as it's sent. While his company also sends tapes off site, it employs its own couriers for better control, he said.
"Last time I looked, Fedex and UPS state that on their shipping forms in spite of insurance, if somethingis truly valuable to you (eg non-replaceable) you shouldn't use their services -- sure seems like people's identities fall into this category," he wrote.

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