Citigroup Blames UPS For Customer Data Loss

June 6, 2005

David M. Ewalt

Citigroup Chairman Sanford Weill is probably echoing the punch line on those old TV commercials: "I should have used Federal Express !" Citigroup has begun notifying some 3.9 million U.S. customers that computer tapes containing information about their accounts have been lost by United Parcel Service while in transit to a credit bureau. The tapes contained information about United States branch network customers of CitiFinancial, the company's consumer finance division, as well as customers with closed accounts from CitiFinancial Retail Services.

Citigroup says it has no reason to believe that this information has been used inappropriately, nor has it received any reports of unauthorized activity, but wants to make customers aware of the problem and provide them with suggestions on how to protect their identity.

"We deeply regret this incident, which occurred in spite of the enhanced security procedures we require of our couriers," said Kevin Kessinger, executive vice president of Citigroup's global consumer group, in a statement.

"There is little risk of the accounts being compromised because customers have already received their loans, and no additional credit may be obtained from CitiFinancial without prior approval of our customers."

UPS is not the first company to misplace a package and potentially expose personal information; last month, Time Warner said that data storage company Iron Mountain lost tapes containing 600,000 employee records.

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