Bank of America (BofA) said computer tapes containing U.S. federal government customer information were lost during a shipment to a backup data center.
The tapes contained information on 1.2 million federal employees, including Social Security numbers, customer charge card and account information used in the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) SmartPay program. Around 900,000 customers affected are employees of the Defense Department. The missing tapes have left customers vulnerable to identity theft.
Bank officials described the number of lost tapes as small and said there is no evidence that the tapes have been accessed or misused.
"We deeply regret this unfortunate incident," Barbara Desoer, global technology, service and fulfillment executive at Bank of America, said in a statement.
Federal law enforcement officials are working with the bank to investigate the case. Government cardholder accounts included in the data tapes will be monitored.