Lost Nelnet tape has data on 188,000

July 18, 2006

By Steve Jordan, World-Herald Staff Writer


About 188,000 student loan customers nationwide of Nelnet Inc. of Lincoln may be affected by a lost computer tape that contains their personal information.

Nelnet said it is notifying its customers, as well as other lenders whose customers may be affected, that the tape can't be located. The tape, according to Nelnet, was in the possession of United Parcel Service. It included data on loans serviced by Nelnet that were previously serviced by the College Access Network between Nov. 1, 2002, and May 31 of this year.

Nelnet said it had no reason to believe the information has been used inappropriately and that it had not received reports of unauthorized activity.

UPS conducted "an exhaustive investigation" and could not locate the shipment but also found no indication that the package had left UPS's control, Nelnet said.

The company said it is encouraging its customers to monitor their credit and protect their identity. It set up a toll-free telephone number, (800) 552-7925, for people to call with concerns or questions.

Ray Ciarvella, Nelnet's chief information officer, said sophisticated equipment would be required to access information on the tape, and the process used to create the tapes is no longer used.

He said the company is reviewing its security policies, even though they already meet or exceed industry standards.

Matt Hall, chief operating officer of Nelnet's education services division, said in a press release:

"We deeply regret this unfortunate incident and are making every effort to inform our customers of the missing data tape and to assist them in protecting their identity. The security of customers' personal information is of the utmost importance to Nelnet, and we are making sure our customers have the support and information they might need to respond to the situation."

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