Iowa Lender Loses Private Data on Thousands of People

September 2, 2005

Iowa Student Loan program borrowers were notified this week that a compact disc containing their personal information has disappeared, according to the Des Moines Register.

Notification letters went out to 165,000 people on Monday, most of whom are Iowans. The CD, which contains Social Security numbers, last names and states of residence for borrowers, was lost when a third-party company affiliated with Iowa Student Loan was sending it back to the West Des Moines-based organization through a private courier, the article reported.

Iowa Student Loan is a nonprofit organization that offers federal and supplemental loans to college students. The organization holds $1 billion in loans made to more than 200,000 borrowers, according to its Web site.

The disc's opened package was found empty, then analyzed by forensic experts who said there is no evidence it was opened purposely. The envelope might have opened accidentally and the disc might be destroyed, although there is no evidence of that, either, said Steve McCullough, chief executive officer of Iowa Student Loan in the Des Moines Register.

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