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Identity Theft Protection Specialist Loses Unencrypted Tape

An unencrypted backup tape missing from an Iron Mountain storage facility has forced a major credit card company that specializes in online credit protection to contact hundreds of thousands of customers.

GE Money, a Stamford, Conn.-based subsidiary of General Electric that manages credit card transactions for retailers, acknowledges that backup data on 650,000 people, including employees of GE Money as well as customers of about 230 U.S. retailers that use GE Money's services, is now lost.

Iron Mountain claims to have discovered the error when the service provider went to find the tape in an Iron Mountain vault at the request of GE Money in October. When the tape couldn't be found, Iron Mountain says it immediately notified GE Money and launched a search.

GE Money says it has no evidence the tape was stolen or that the data on it has been accessed. The company says it's offered "some individuals whose information is included on the unencrypted tape" a year of free credit-monitoring service.

Additional steps are also being taken by GE Money to "prevent situations like this from occurring in the future." But what those steps are isn't being specified.

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