JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) has had a rough time recently, and it only got worse with a class action suit filed against it last week for putting customers’ private information at risk, reports Reuters. The bank is accused of printing Social Security numbers on the outside of letters sent to customers. Ironically, the letters are supposed to notify them of the efforts the bank was taking to protect customer information.
The lawsuit, which was filed in federal court in Chicago, accuses the bank of violating both state and federal laws. The suit is being brought by the Hagen Bermans law firm on behalf of Alexander Furman of Illinois.
Furman first received a letter with his private information on the outside on September 1. He contacted the bank and was told that the problem would be taken care of, says Reuters. However, he received another letter from JPMorgan a couple of weeks later with the same information on the outside.
The lawsuit used JPMorgan’s own warnings about security procedures and that a name combined with a Social Security number is a good way for someone to steal one’s identity.
A partner at Hagen Bermans, Elizabeth Fegan, also said that “Chase even says on its Web site that providing Social Security numbers to an identity thief is ‘as good as gold.” The lawsuit notes that Social Security numbers are very risky because they cannot be replaced as easily as debit cards.
If this suit does become a class action one, then thousands or even millions of customers might be part of it. So far, a number of charges have been brought against JPMorgan, including one that the mailings breached the Illinois consumer fraud act.