JPMorgan Chase's Private Bank Has Computer Breach

August 30, 2005

By Liz Moyer

JPMorgan Chase (nyse: JPM - news - people ) & Co. now has to contend with calming customers after a laptop computer containing account information was stolen from its Dallas private banking office.

These aren't just any customers, either. They are wealthy individuals, mostly from Texas, who are clients of the firm's storied private bank, which has been trying to boost its image and branch out nationally for the last few years.

It is just the latest disclosure by a major financial institution that customer data could have been compromised. In June, Citigroup (nyse: C - news - people ) said tapes containing information on 3.9 million accounts in its CitiFinancial division had been lost while being transferred by United Parcel Service (nyse: UPS - news - people ) to a processing center owned by the big credit reporting firm Experian. Citi said there was no indication of suspicious activity in any of the accounts in question.

JPMorgan sent a letter to clients last week telling them a computer was stolen from its Dallas offices on Aug. 8. The letter, signed by managing director Elaine Agather, told customers the computer held personal and financial information about them, which may also be linked to other accounts they hold in joint names. The information was password-protected, but it is possible to break in and access the data, the company warned clients.

A JPMorgan spokeswoman said the company has not noticed any suspicious activity in the accounts, but is monitoring the situation closely. She would not say how many accounts are potentially affected.

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