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Insurance Firm VALIC Suffers Security Breach

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The life insurance and retirement plan firm VALIC has suffered a data-security breach, potentially jeopardizing personal identity information for thousands of customers.

The Variable Annuity Life Insurance Company, a subsidiary of American International Group, began notifying current and former customers of the breach last week.

“We wanted to let you know about a situation involving unauthorized access to your personal information,” wrote VALIC’s Melinda Ackerman in a March 31 letter to customers. “It recently came to our attention that an employee formerly associated with VALIC was in possession of information relating to some of our customers including you. This included customer names and either partial or complete Social Security numbers. There is no indication that your information has been misused.”

The letter continued, “The employee left VALIC in October of 2007, and during the past six years, we know of no unusual activities involving your personal information related to this situation.”

The company is providing affected customers with free ID-protection services for a year.

In a statement to ABC News, VALIC spokesman Larry Mark said: “We have fully cooperated with all authorities since this matter first came to our attention, and we will continue to do so. We have no indication that the personal information of the customers receiving this mailing has been misused; and, to our knowledge, only one account suffered any financial impact as a result of a former employee’s actions. This former employee has entered a guilty plea on one count of mail fraud and one count of Social Security number fraud. He is currently under house arrest pending a sentencing hearing.  Client privacy has always been, and remains, our top priority.”

Mark said VALIC has been working with authorities on the data breach since January 2013.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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