Citibank Accidentally Prints SSNs On Envelopes
Mailing went out to customers in January
March 12, 2010
In January, Citibank mailed out year-end tax statements to 600,000 customers that included a not-so-minor mistake on the envelope’s lower edges: the recipient’s Social Security number. Citibank, which notified affected consumers the week of Feb. 15, chalked it up to a “processing error,” the New York Daily News reports. In its notification, the bank stated that it believes “there is little or no risk to you."
Their reason for optimism? The digits weren’t identified as a Social Security numbers, but rather were part of a “larger string of digits and letters that resembled a mail routing number,” as ConsumerReports.org points out in its Money Blog.
When SSNs get into the wrong hands, a lot can go wrong. They should be closely guarded because they can be used by scammers to open up new lines of credit, secure employment on fraudulent terms, and more. The bank has responded by offering affected consumers six months of credit monitoring — a service that will notify individuals of changes to their credit report —free of charge.
"It is an important part of our commitment to our customers to be fully transparent and to give them the peace of mind that comes from banking with people they trust," according to part of a statement quoted by the Chicago Tribune’s Problem Solver blog.
Data mishaps certainly don’t build trust with consumers. On Consumerreports.org, blogger Anthony Giorgianni expressed his frustration. “I’m sure I’m not alone with being fed up with corporations asking for, trading, or buying people’s sensitive personal information only to expose it to theft or other public scrutiny,” he wrote.
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