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[ISN] Data lost on 650,000 credit card holders


By David Koenig
AP Business Writer

PLANO, Texas - Personal information on about 650,000 customers of J.C. 
Penney and up to 100 other retailers could be compromised after a 
computer tape went missing. GE Money, which handles credit card 
operations for Penney and many other retailers, said Thursday night that 
the missing information includes Social Security numbers for about 
150,000 people.

The information was on a backup computer tape that was discovered 
missing last October. It was being stored at a warehouse run by Iron 
Mountain Inc., a data storage company, and was never checked out but 
can't be found either, said Richard C. Jones, a spokesman for GE Money, 
part of General Electric Capital Corp.

Jones said there was "no indication of theft or anything of that sort," 
and no evidence of fraudulent activity on the accounts involved.

Iron Mountain spokesman Dan O'Neill said it would take specialized 
skills for someone to glean the personal data from the tape. He said the 
company regretted losing the tape, "but because of the volume of 
information we handle and the fact people are involved, we have 
occasionally made mistakes."

Penney said it had been told of the situation and referred further 
inquiries to GE Money.


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