Countrywide advises customers: Your information was stolen!

Montgomery, Al. (WSFA) -- Sheila Rigby is one of thousands of Countrywide customers nationwide that got a letter they didn't expect.

"I almost didn't open this letter," Rigby admitted.

It's a good thing she did. The mortgage company told her--in no uncertain terms--her husband's identity was in jeopardy.

"Information that included your name, address, mortgage loan number and various other loan and application information," Rigby read from the letter.

The correspondence came a month and a half after a major security breach by a former employee.

"It was in early August, and I'm just now finding this out," Rigby said, frustrated.

What can customers do?

Rigby checked credit reports and put fraud alerts on her accounts--something Countrywide is encouraging.

Right now, they say, no identities have been stolen.  In a press statement, the company said the following:

Countrywide values its customer relationships, and the security of their financial information is a top priority.  As has been reported in early August, Countrywide recently learned that some customer information has been provided by a Countrywide associate to unauthorized persons outside the company in violation of company policy. Countrywide investigators reported evidence of possible theft of personal account information to the FBI and continue to work closely with the FBI in its ongoing investigation. We cannot comment further on the investigation at this time.

We have no evidence to date to indicate that any customer has been the victim of identity theft or fraud.  To ensure the protection of all involved, we are notifying customers whose information may have been exposed by this employee of the steps we are taking and what they can do to protect themselves.  We are providing these customers with the opportunity to receive two years of credit-monitoring services at no charge to them.

Still, customers like Rigby are concerned.

"This is not anything that I could have avoided.  It's out of my hands," she said.

Countrywide says they'll offer free credit monitoring for those affected.  However, the 2 year complimentary service is only available for primary account holders.

Countrywide told customers those people were the only ones hit by this crime.

For more information, contact Countrywide's Special Services line at 1-866-451-5895.