Companies on lost bank computer tape identified

Lost data tape contained information on nearly 500,000 Conn., residents

The missing Bank of New York Mellon computer tape reported last week contained information about nearly 500,000 Connecticut residents from a large number of companies, said state officials, who identified 25 of the companies on Friday.

New York Mellon, which was responsible for the tape, has upped its fraud protection offer from one year to two years. The company has agreed to provide two years of free credit monitoring, including $25,000 in identify theft insurance and free credit freezes to people affected by either security breach.

New York Mellon had been under pressure from Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and other Connecticut officials to boost its protection offer. Among the 497,333 Connecticut residents affected, 403,894 were depositors of People's United Bank, which said last week it is relying on New York Mellon to notify its depositors.

Other companies affected were John Hancock Financial Services Inc., 33,586 shareholders; and The Walt Disney Co., 18,361 shareholders. The rest had fewer than 10,000 Connecticut residents.

The list of companies was provided by New York Mellon and released by Blumenthal and Jerry Farrell Jr., commissioner of the Department of Consumer Protection.

The unencrypted computer tape was lost Feb. 27 by a third-party courier, which was transporting it on behalf of Mellon's Shareowner Services business. Mellon did not inform People's of the loss until earlier this month.

The loss potentially puts millions of people at risk for identity theft and bank account and credit fraud. In all, the tape contained personal and financial information of 4.5 million people nationwide, from more than 700 companies and other institutions - including Mellon itself. The names were those of shareholders of the companies, or in the case of some of the banks, depositors who had some of the legal rights of shareholders.

People affected by the breach should receive or have already received a letter from Bank of New York Mellon informing them of the loss and instructions on signing up for the free credit protection services, Blumenthal said.

However, he urged Connecticut residents who believe their information may be on the tape to call one of New York Mellon's two toll-free numbers, 877-278-3451 or 877-278-3461, and to be vigilant in monitoring their bank accounts and credit cards.

New York Mellon has been soundly criticized by People's United officials and state officials for failing to report the full extent of the security breach until May 18.

Officials with The Bank of New York Mellon said Friday that there are no indications that the data on the lost tape has been accessed or misused in any way. They said they are in the process of notifying anyone involved in the security lapse.

"We deeply regret that this occurred and sincerely apologize to all of those impacted," Todd Gibbons, chief risk officer at New York Mellon, said Friday. The company said it plans to upgrade its security measures.

New York Mellon was in possession of the People's United Bank data because it was assisting the parent of the Bridgeport-based bank with its conversion to a fully public company. People's was required to allow all of its depositors the opportunity to vote on the conversion. New York Mellon tabulated depositor votes and processed stock order requests.

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