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December 20, 2005

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My wife and I were among the two million customers whose data were lost. Shortly after sending this to FMF, I checked ABN AMRO's site (www.info.mortgage.com) and the missing data had been found. But needless to say, we will still be taking advantage of their free credit-monitoring offer. (And as a sidenote, TrueCredit is positively swamped today as a result of all this, so be prepared to wait awhile if you call them.)

Personally, I don't see ABN AMRO suffering from this too much. Especially now that the data has been found, the story will go away. The switching costs for products like mortgages and loans are too high, and the people who even noticed probably won't remember when it comes time to refinance or move.

This is the second time this has happened to my wife and me in the last three or four months. Our student loan company lost our data too. It's scary stuff...vigilance is the only way to protect yourself.

Here's a website that talks about some of LaSalle Bank's other troubles...

http://www.notsocommoncents.com/index.php?mode=viewid&post_id=216

I'm surprised that the credit monitoring offer was only for 90 days. If I had the data of 2mil people, especially mortgages which aren't exactly cheap to move, I could wait 90 days before ripping people off.

What people do not realize is that this is not "happening more and more lately...", but this has always happened, but the legislation or oversight was never in place to require companies to report it. Given the hype about identity theft today, everyone freaks out when something like this happens. I am not playing down the potential risks here, but just realize that this is a case where customers are not really at risk. Most cases of identity theft and hacking into company systems occur within the organization itself, not from outsiders!

It could be happening at the same rate (I'm not saying it is or isn't, what I said was that it SEEMS like it is), but there's no denying that identity theft is a major crime these days where in years past (say 5-10 years ago), it wasn't nearly as big an issue.

And while most cases could (not saying they do) come from elsewhere, the fact that 2 million records were lost in not something to be glossed over.

I agree with Pat that 90 days is not much. And it's not really the mortgage info that's valuable, but the underlying personal data (name, address, ssn, employer, etc...) Loss of that info could cause some serious headaches for customers.

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