According to the Wikipedia article on black holes:
Even though the collapse takes a finite amount of time from the reference frame of infalling matter, a distant observer sees the infalling material slow and halt just above the event horizon, due to gravitational time dilation. Light from the collapsing material takes longer and longer to reach the observer, with the light emitted just before the event horizon forms delayed an infinite amount of time. Thus the external observer never sees the formation of the event horizon; instead, the collapsing material seems to become dimmer and increasingly red-shifted, eventually fading away.
If this is the case, then why is there a problem about information loss in a black hole? To any observer not inside a black hole, black holes do not exist. Thus there is no problem about information loss. In the same vein, isn't it misleading to say, for instance, that the engines of quasars are black holes? When we observe a quasar, all its mass is still observable in principle (though too red-shifted to see in practice) and no black hole exists.