For Immediate Release - July 29, 2011

Belmont Savings Bank to Pay $7,500 Under Settlement with AG Coakley for Failing to Protect Customers' Personal Information

Bank Also Agrees to Improve Handling of Sensitive Information

BOSTON - Belmont Savings Bank has entered into a settlement with Attorney General Martha Coakley following a data breach in which an unencrypted backup computer tape containing the names, Social Security numbers, and account numbers of more than 13,000 Massachusetts residents was lost after a Belmont Savings Bank employee failed to follow the bank's own policies and procedures.

"Consumers expect businesses to not only develop policies and procedures to safeguard their sensitive personal information, but to follow these procedures as well," AG Coakley said. "Our office will continue to take action against companies that fail to follow protocol to protect the information entrusted to them by consumers."

Belmont Savings Bank experienced a data breach in May 2011, when an employee left a backup computer tape on a desk rather than storing it in a vault for the night. Surveillance footage showed that the tape was inadvertently thrown away by the evening cleaning crew. The tape was most likely incinerated by Belmont Savings Bank's waste disposal company. Belmont Savings Bank indicated that it has no evidence that consumers' personal information had been acquired or used by an unauthorized person or used for an unauthorized purpose.

The Attorney General's Assurance of Discontinuance with Belmont Savings Bank, filed in Suffolk Superior Court, provides for a civil penalty of $7,500 as well as injunctive relief to mitigate the risk of future data breaches at Belmont Savings Bank. Under the terms of the settlement, Belmont Savings Bank must ensure the proper transfer and inventory of backup computer tapes containing personal information; store backup computer tapes containing personal information in a secure location; and effectively train the members of its workforce on the policies and procedures with respect to maintaining the security of personal information.

This matter was handled by Assistant Attorneys General Scott D. Schafer and Shannon Choy-Seymour of Attorney General Coakley's Consumer Protection Division.