The New York Times The New York Times National What happened today in Iraq?
 

NYTimes: Home - Site Index - Archive - Help

Welcome, vsauter2 - Member Center - Log Out
Site Search:  



ARTICLE TOOLS
Printer Friendly Format Printer-Friendly Format
Most E-mailed Articles Most E-Mailed Articles
Reprints & Permissions Reprints & Permissions



Find out more about:

Related Research:
HighBeam Research has an extensive archive of more than 32 million documents from 2,800 sources.



High-tech toys for the young and old

A 3-D view of the city
Browse 1,000+ product reviews
Today's top tech news


Bank Loses Tapes of Records of 1.2 Million With Visa Cards

By SAUL HANSELL

Published: February 26, 2005

Bank of America said yesterday that it had lost computer backup tapes containing personal information about 1.2 million federal employees, including some senators, with Visa charge cards issued by the bank.

A spokeswoman for Bank of America, Alexandra Trower, said the bank did not believe that the information had been stolen or had fallen into the hands of people using it to commit fraud. There has been no suspicious activity on any of the affected accounts, she said.

Advertisement

The cards were issued to government employees who need to travel or make purchases on government business. About 900,000 of the cardholders are employees of the Defense Department. Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont, was one of the cardholders.

The bank sent letters yesterday to those whose data was on the lost tapes, providing a telephone number for questions or problems. The bank said it did not think it needed to change those account numbers.

Ms. Trower declined to provide many details about the incident, citing security concerns. She said that the tapes were part of a shipment in late December from a bank facility to another location meant to house backups. A few days after the shipment arrived, the bank discovered that a small number of the tapes were missing. The bank then notified the Secret Service, which has legal responsibility for credit card theft.

The investigation so far has turned up no evidence of wrongdoing and is consistent with the view that the tapes were simply lost in transit.

"We are presuming it's not malicious activity," said Barbara J. Desoer, the bank's chief technology, service and fulfillment executive.

The bank notified the General Services Administration of the lost tapes on Jan. 11, said Mary Alice Johnson, a spokeswoman for the agency, which administers the government's charge card program, known as Smart Pay. Several banks issue cards for federal agencies under that program.

Ms. Johnson said the bank had "behaved as a good citizen."

The incident comes at a time of increasing attention to the risks to people when information about them held in corporate databases falls into the wrong hands.

Choicepoint, a company that sells personal data to landlords and employers, said last month that it had inadvertently sold personal data on 145,000 people to thieves last year. The information was used to steal the identities of at least 750 people.


Home Delivery of The Times from $2.90/week - Act Now!




TOP NYTIMES.COM ARTICLES
. Lebanese Government Dissolved Amid Opposition Protests
. Blast Kills 122 at Iraqi Clinic in Attack on Security Recruits
. Retailing Giant Takes Shape as Federated Agrees to Buy May
. Ebbers Testifies He Knew Little About How WorldCom Worked
Go to NYTimes.com Home

TOP NATIONAL ARTICLES
. Crashes Start Debate on Safety of Sky Ambulances
. Prosecutor Opens Case Against Jackson
. Relief, and Bewilderment, Over Arrest in Kansas Killings
. The Ten Commandments Reach the Supreme Court
Go to National

OUR ADVERTISERS
Up to $300 off instantly on select Dell Home PCs. Details.

Get "WOW!" Deals in the Travelzoo Top 20 Newsletter. Click to Sign Up!

Diversify your
portfolio with
QQQ
from NASDAQ.


Schwab Active
Trader: Get 30
Commission free
Trades.




TIMES NEWS TRACKER

  Topics

Alerts
Bank of America Corporation


Government Employees


Privacy



Track news that interests you.