Lost Oklahoma Flashdrive Contained Social Security Numbers

April 23, 2009

The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission says the Social Security numbers of more than 5,500 people is on a flashdrive that was lost by an employee.

Commission spokesman John Carpenter says the employee put the information on a flashdrive after his laptop was infected with a virus.

Carpenter says the employee then accidentally took the flashdrive to a conference in Dallas where he lost it.

Carpenter says there have been no reports of identity theft because of the lost information.

Kurt Kalies, a Shawnee audiologist, is one of more than 5,500 area workers who got a letter from the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission explaining the mishap.

“I don’t think the one employee who did it will ever do it again,” Kalies said. “It’s something I’m sure everybody feels bad about.”

A letter from the OESC informed all the workers to contact the Federal Trade Commission to report the incident, but Kalies said that wasn’t enough.

“I expect them to be more helpful as far as helping people to monitor their credit reports and all they did on that was say, ‘Here’s a Web site,”‘ Kalies said.

Carpenter said the incident has prompted the agency to adopt new polating policies to make sure this kind of thing never happens again,” Carpenter said.

The OESC said the incident wasn’t intentional, but personnel action has been taken against the man who lost the information.

Attorney General Drew Edmondson said the 5,500 Oklahomans whose Social Security numbers were compromised by the data breach should take immediate steps to protect their credit.

“Media reports indicate that the OESC has notified those affected by the data loss, and that’s a good first step,” Edmondson said. “But, it’s important for those impacted to protect themselves from fraud.”

According to the FTC, the average victim spends 600 hours and $1,400 repairing the damage wrought by identity theft.

“Identity theft is a growing and expensive problem,” Edmondson said. “Spending a little time now could save lots of time and money later.”

Information from: Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office; KWTV-TV, www.news9.com/

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