Local News

Bank loses personal information on 248,000 in N.C.

Posted September 30, 2008 2:04 p.m. EDT
Updated September 30, 2008 5:59 p.m. EDT

— Data from 248,000 North Carolinians was recently lost by Bank of New York Mellon, including their names, addresses, Social Security numbers and possibly their bank account information, state Attorney General Roy Cooper said Tuesday.

BNY Mellon reported in May that it lost backup tapes containing personal information from about 4 million consumers nationwide, including 74,000 in North Carolina. The company has since discovered that the breach actually affected 12 million consumers.

The bank is notifying North Carolinians whose information was lost and offering them two years of free credit-monitoring. Some consumers who are contacted might not be familiar with the company, which publicly traded companies hire as a stock transfer agent or to handle corporate transactions, Cooper said in a statement.

In addition to accepting free credit-monitoring or other services offered, the Attorney General's Office also recommended that consumers notify the credit bureaus, consider placing a freeze on their credit and continue checking their credit frequently.

“During these uncertain times, it’s especially important that people know if their personal information has been lost or stolen,” Cooper said. “Our state laws require that businesses and government let you know if you’re the victim of a security breach so you can act quickly to protect yourself from identity theft.”

A total of 260 breaches that involved information about 1.5 million North Carolina consumers have been reported since state laws took effect in 2005 and 2006 that require government agencies and businesses to report them.

Almost half of the loses involved the theft of laptops, computers or other equipment containing personal information. Nearly 17 percent were caused by unauthorized release or display of information, and almost 20 percent were the result of hackers.

Nearly half of all breaches reported came from the financial services and insurance industry, while close to 10 percent were reported by state and local government agencies.

“An identity thief needs just a few pieces of information to pretend to be you and ruin your credit,” Cooper said. “If you know that your information could be in the wrong hands, take steps to protect yourself.”