Peoples Bank Loses Tape Containing Confidential Data

The Connecticut-based bank says the tape was lost in transit by UPS and that no unauthorized use of the data has been reported.

A Connecticut bank is notifying approximately 90,000 of its credit-line customers that a tape containing confidential data is missing, lost while being carried by UPS to TransUnion LLC, a credit reporting bureau. At this time, Peoples Bank said that no immediate sign of misuse or unauthorized activity of the data has occurred.

Peoples Bank said the accounts affected by the missing tape are customer and bank employees PCL (personal credit lines) accounts, or the "overdraft protection" associated with a personal checking account. The incident does not affect any customers business credit lines linked to business checking accounts or to equity credit lines, according to a statement released by Peoples Bank, based in Bridgeport, Conn.

The missing tape does, however, feature information about PCL accounts, including names, addresses, Social Security numbers and checking account numbers. Attempting to quell any security or privacy concerns, Peoples Bank officials said the tape cannot be read without "sophisticated mainframe and equipment." Bank officials could not be reached for comment for further explanation of specific mechanisms required to retrieve or view the lost data.

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Going a step further, the bank is urging customers not to close any of their existing accounts with Peoples over security concerns because the organization contends that information on the lost tape is "not sufficient" to enable unauthorized access to customer accounts.

Information such as birth dates, checking account balances, debit card numbers and PINs (personal identification numbers) are not on the tape.

Several high-profile examples of data tape loss during transit have put customers on alert over the risk that their confidential information may be subject to loss due to movement of backup tapes. For example, Bank of America last year was dealt a severe blow when the company admitted to losing data tapes en route to a data center. The tapes reportedly featured employee and personal information on 1.2 million federal workers.

Peoples said it will provide affected customers with approximately one year of a credit monitoring service at the banks expense. Those same customers are actively receiving a letter from Peoples Bank explaining the recent mishap and the steps the financial institution is taking to protect that information.

One of Connecticuts largest banks, Peoples Bank features assets of $11 billion and operates more than 240 ATMs and 153 branches.

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