Thousands of SmartPay cardholders in the Pacific theater were affected when Bank of America lost data tapes containing personal information recently.

Air Force officials said that about 17,000 Pacific Air Forces personnel were affected, including 922 accounts at Misawa Air Base, 1,955 at Yokota Air Base and 2,201 at Kadena Air Base.

In U.S. Army Japan, up to 500 servicemember and civilian cardholders could be affected, said Myron Bettencourt, coordinator, U.S. Army Japan government travel charge card program.

“If someone gets hold of your number, they can use your travel card,” he said.

He sent e-mails two weeks ago to cardholders advising them they soon would be receiving a notice from Bank of America explaining the situation.

Those letters began arriving in the mail to some mainland Japan cardholders last week. Eighth Army officials in South Korea didn’t respond to requests for comment by deadline.

Pacific Fleet officials last week couldn’t supply numbers of cardholders affected. Pacific Fleet spokeswoman Lt. j.g. Heather Paynter said in a written response to Stars and Stripes, that “those numbers are still forthcoming.”

Across the Defense Department, more than 242,000 Navy and 56,000 Marine Corps account holders were affected, she noted, citing a Navy news release.

“The Marine Corps is ensuring that maximum contact is made with approximately 3,400 cardholders affected within the 3rd MEF (Marine Expeditionary Force) and Marine Corps Base,” stated 1st Lt. Eric Tausch, spokesman for Marine Consolidated Public Affairs on Okinawa, in a written reply.

“These cardholders are being directed to contact the financial institution to quickly resolve the issue.”

The tapes, which went missing in late December, contained names, Social Security numbers and addresses of 933,000 federal employee travel-cardholders, Pentagon officials have said. Secret Service officials are investigating the loss.

Bank of America is recommending that all affected cardholders watch their travel accounts and credit reports for unusual activity. The company has agreed to make free credit reports available to customers upon request.

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign up to receive a daily email of today's top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign Up Now