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11/25/2003
10:48 AM
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Wells Fargo Proffers $100,000 Reward For Stolen Computers

The banking and financial-services company is trying to catch those responsible for stealing computers that contained confidential customer information.

Wells Fargo & Co. says it will pay a $100,000 reward for original information leading directly to the arrest and conviction of thieves responsible for stealing computers that contained confidential information about some of its customers.

Last week, the banking and financial-services company notified the customers whose information was stolen. Wells Fargo reported that the office of an analyst hired by the company was burglarized and computer equipment was stolen that contained account information about customers who held personal lines of credit with the bank. Some of the stolen information included customers' names, addresses, Social Security numbers, and their credit-account numbers. The company says no passwords or PINs were stolen.

The theft may not have been directed at Wells Fargo. The company says equipment was also stolen from the offices of unrelated businesses in the same building. So far, the company is not familiar with any fraudulent activity surrounding the stolen account information.

Wells Fargo said in a statement that aside from notifying affected customers, it's also monitoring the at-risk accounts, changing their account numbers, adding a Credit Alert report to customers' credit reports, providing 24-hour access to specially trained account representatives, and providing a one-year membership to a credit-monitoring reporting service so customers can quickly learn if any of their information is being misused.

Mark Rasch, an identity-theft legal expert and VP and chief security counsel at security vendor Solutionary Inc., says Wells Fargo is making the right moves. "Based up what we know so far, they're doing exactly the types of things they should be doing and they should be commended for that," says Rasch.

Wells Fargo is working with law-enforcement agencies regarding the theft. Anyone with information about the theft should call WeTip Anonymous at 800-78-CRIME.

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