Ameriprise Notifies Clients of Data Theft

By STEVE KARNOWSKI Associated Press Writer

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Ameriprise Financial Inc. said Wednesday it has notified about 226,000 people that their names and other personal data were stored on a laptop computer that was stolen from an employee's vehicle.

Ameriprise said it has alerted 68,000 current and former financial advisers whose names and Social Security numbers were also stored on the same computer. About 158,000 clients had only their names and internal account numbers exposed. The company says it has more than 2 million customers and about 10,500 current financial advisers.

Minneapolis-based Ameriprise said it had received no reports that the data lost in the theft had been used improperly. Ameriprise is the name of the former American Express Financial Advisors division, which New York-based American Express Co. spun off last fall.

Ameriprise said the theft appeared to be a "random criminal act" and that it has been working with law enforcement to recover the laptop, which it said was stolen recently from an employee's locked vehicle that was parked offsite.

Company spokesman Steve Connolly said the laptop was stolen in late December outside Minnesota, but he declined to say where.


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