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Fidelity employee steals 2.3 million consumer records

Database administrator hustles info to marketeers

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Fidelity National Information Services, the major US financial processing company, said today a senior level database administrator at one of its subsidiaries stole 2.3 million consumer records containing bank account and credit card information as well as other personal information.

The data was commandeered by an unnamed, now-former employee who worked at the company's Florida-based outfit, Certegy Check Services. The employee allegedly sold the information to a data broker, who in turn sold it to a "limited number" of marketing organizations.

Fidelity, also based in Florida, claims the incident does not involve any outside intrusion or compromise of Certegy's technology systems.

“As a result of this apparent theft, the consumers affected received marketing solicitations from the companies that bought the data,” Certegy president Renz Nichols said in a statement. “We have no reason to believe that the theft resulted in any subsequent fraudulent activity or financial damage to the consumer, and we are taking the necessary steps to see that any further use of the data stops.”

Of the approximately 2.3 million records believed to have been compromised, about 2.2 million contain bank account information and 99,000 contain credit card information. The company is still investigating when the theft occurred.

Fidelity said the employee was authorized to access the data for his job, but removing and selling the data was "obviously, outside the scope of his employment and Certegy's knowledge".

Fidelity maintains that there is no evidence that the information was mishandled for anything other than marketing purposes. The company said it is unaware of any identify theft or fraudulent financial activity resulting from the data breach.

Certegy has filed a civil complaint against the former employee and the marketing firms they believe purchased the data. The company is seeking to retrieve the consumer data and to be awarded an injunction against its use.

The company has alerted the country's three major credit reporting agencies and is implementing a fraud watch on its internal systems for the checking accounts that were compromised.

"On behalf of Fidelity National Information Services and our Certegy subsidiary, I want to express my deep sadness and heartfelt apology over this incident,” Fidelity CEO Lee Kennedy said. “We will do everything possible to ensure no consumer is harmed because of this horrible betrayal.” ®

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