Bank notifies customers of laptop theft

November 6, 2007

By Jennifer Barker, Staff Writer

A laptop with customers' personal information including names, addresses, social security numbers and bank account numbers was stolen from Butte Community Bank sometime in October.

A notice form the bank dated Oct. 24 was sent to customers whose personal information was believed to be on the laptop. The notice states the laptop was stolen earlier that month. Customers including The Post, did not receive notification until the first week in November. According to the notice the data on the stolen laptop was protected by a password intended to prevent unauthorized individuals from accessing the private information.

The circumstances of the theft suggested the thief was interested only in the laptop and not the bank's information, according to the bank's notice. A concerned customer and Post employee Katie Stecher said she received the notice this weekend. She called the bank with concerns regarding the safety of her account.

She said a customer service representative of the bank, told her the laptop was stolen from an employee who travels to each branch. The bank doesn't allow employees to take computers with personal banking information out of the building. The bank did not say which branch the employee was working from or where he was traveling to when the laptop was stolen. The employee who was responsible for the laptop was held accountable, according to the bank representative.

The bank notice said it is possible that a computer hacker could get past the security system that was intended to protect the information on the computer. If that happened it is possible the personal information may be misused.

Stecher said she asked the bank representative if she should be worried, the representative replied on a scale from one to 10 it would be two, though she suggested monitoring accounts for the next year. The representative said the bank will assume liability for any missing funds reported to the bank within a month of discovering they're missing. Community member Brian Alexander called The Post with concerns regarding his bank account.

He called the bank and they told him they would take on liability for any problems resulting from the stolen information. Alexander said he would feel more confident if that statement was in writing. The bank notice didn't guarantee the bank would take responsibility for loss of funds. The Post called the bank to get further information on the situation.

President Keith Robbins' receptionist at the Chico Ad-ministration Center said Robbins had no comment and suggested to tell any concerned citizens to call the bank's toll-free number at (866)488-8588 if they have any questions. Strecher said she was told by the bank representative the bank has received calls from many concerned community members.

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