US insurer Hartford Financial Services has notified about 237,000 policy holders of a potential compromise of their personal data.
The warning followed the loss of three backup tapes containing the names, addresses, social security numbers and driver's licence numbers of customers of the company's personal lines claims centre. The tapes were discovered to be missing on 27 September.
So far there is no evidence that the tapes were stolen or that the information has been misused, a company spokeswoman said. Hartford Financial Services has no idea if the tapes were misplaced while in transit to another location or if they went missing inside the company. But the information contained on them could only be read with "the use of sophisticated and expensive equipment," she added.
As a precaution, the company is offering a year's worth of free credit protection services from Equifax, the statement said. The services include credit monitoring, unlimited credit reports and £10,000 in identity theft protection. Individuals who elect to implement credit freezes on their credit lines will also be eligible for a reimbursement of the costs associated with that freeze, the company said.