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NC Department of Health and Human Services
 
 

Stolen laptop may have resulted in the release of personal information

Release Date: November 5, 2008
Contact: Lori Walston, 919-733-9190

RALEIGH:  The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) announced today that a computer belonging to the Division of Aging and Adult Services (DAAS) was stolen on Saturday, Oct. 25, from an employee returning from a training conference in Atlanta, GA. The computer contained personal information of some of the clients receiving home and community services from the state DAAS.

Although the information contained on the laptop is password protected, DAAS has contacted each of the individuals whose personal information may have been compromised. The letter explains the incident and based on the type of information potentially compromised provides guidance to these individuals on how to protect themselves from identity theft or scams.  

At the time of the incident, the Atlanta Police Department was immediately notified.  The employee also notified the car rental company and the appropriate airport authorities.  DAAS also contacted the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation and notified the Consumer Protection Section of the Attorney General’s Office. 

For the clients who had personal information stolen, the letter gives advice on how to prevent their information from being used to obtain credit in their names: 

1.   Place a ‘fraud alert’ on your credit report by contacting one of the three credit reporting agencies. The three agencies are www.Equifax.com,1-800-525-6285; www.TransUnion.com,1-800-680-7289; and www.Experian.com, 1-888-397-3742.
2.   Review your credit report--Immediately access and review your credit reports from each of the three major credit reporting agencies. You can do this without cost after placing the fraud alert by visiting the website www.annualcreditreport.com or calling them at 1-877-322-8228.

Since personal information may not be used immediately, they were advised to check their credit reports regularly.

A second group of clients will receive a different letter informing them that certain information about them was on the laptop. While the letter does not advise this group to place a ‘fraud alert,’ they are advised to be cautious of unusual phone calls or other inquiries.

DAAS Director Dennis Streets expressed his concern for the clients. In the letter he said, “The Division of Aging and Adult Services is truly sorry about this theft of your personal information and the inconvenience this incident will cause. We know how worrisome this news may be to you and wish to assure you that we stand ready to assist you in this matter. We will continue to closely monitor this incident and work with law enforcement agencies in the hope that we can recover the computer and determine whether or not your personal information was accessed. If the computer is recovered and we can make this determination, we will notify you.”

Information has been shared by DAAS with the 17 Area Agencies on Aging and local providers in the aging network across the state to help these agencies personally follow-up with the clients who may have been affected.

DAAS has added a link to consumer protection information on the division’s website at www.dhhs.state.nc.us/aging.  DAAS has also prepared staff to answer questions from concerned citizens who may have been affected.

Those with questions or concerns should contact the DHHS CARE-LINE, Information and Referral Service at 1-800-662-7030 (English/Espanol) or TTY for the hearing impaired at 1-877-452-2514. The CARE-LINE is open 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week, including state holidays. In the Triangle area, call 919-855-4400 or 919-733-4851 (TTY for the hearing impaired).

 

 

 

  

 

Updated: January 15, 2009