Wells Fargo Reports Suspected Theft of Computer; No Indication Customer Information Accessed, Misused
DES MOINES, Iowa — May 5, 2006
DES MOINES, Iowa – May 5, 2006 – Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) said today that a computer – being transported for Wells Fargo Home Mortgage , a division of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., by a global express shipping company between Wells Fargo facilities – has been reported as missing and may have been stolen. Wells Fargo said there is no indication that the information on the computer equipment has been accessed or misused. The computer has two layers of security, making it difficult to access the information.
Nevertheless, individuals whose information was stored on the equipment are being notified by mail and encouraged to take precautionary steps to reduce any potential risk.
The equipment contained confidential information about some of Wells Fargo’s mortgage customers and prospective customers, including names, addresses, Social Security numbers and mortgage loan account numbers. The missing equipment did not have depository or any other account numbers on it that the customers may have with Wells Fargo or other financial institutions.
Wells Fargo contacted law enforcement when it learned of the situation and an investigation began. Law enforcement directed Wells Fargo to delay notifying affected customers because it was concerned that such notification would jeopardize its investigation. Through the investigation, law enforcement believes this may have been a theft for the hardware – not for information. Law enforcement says it no longer believes notification would interfere with its investigation so Wells Fargo now is able to send letters to affected customers and prospective customers informing them of the incident and suggesting ways for them to reduce any potential risk.
“There is absolutely no indication the customer information has been misused or accessed but we want to make sure our customers are fully aware of the situation, and that we help them take precautionary steps to safeguard them against any potential risk,” said Cara Heiden, division president, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage. “We are offering a one-year free credit monitoring subscription and encouraging customers to review all of their financial accounts regularly and report any suspicious activity immediately to the appropriate financial institution.”
Wells Fargo takes significant steps to protect customer information, which include:
- Team members receive training on how to safeguard customer information and are required to honor our code of conduct, which includes standards to protect customer confidentiality.
- Policies and procedures for the proper physical security of workplaces, equipment and records.
- Requiring independent consultants and outside companies who work with the company to adhere to strict policy standards through their contract.
- Evaluating and adapting new technology to protect against unauthorized access or alterations to customer data.
Wells Fargo & Company is a diversified financial services company with $492 billion in assets, providing banking, insurance, investments, mortgage and consumer finance to more than 23 million customers from more than 6,200 stores and the internet (wellsfargo.com) across North America and elsewhere internationally. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. is the only bank in the United States to receive the highest possible credit rating, “Aaa,” from Moody’s Investors Service. # # #