Personal Data at Risk after Utah Workers’ Comp Fund Laptop Stolen

January 8, 2008

Worker’s Compensation Fund, one of Utah’s largest insurance companies, is working to recover a laptop stolen from an auditor’s car that held personal data records for some 2,800 people.

The laptop was taken Dec. 9 while the car was parked in the garage of the auditor’s home. It contained Social Security numbers and other personal information from individuals and about 1,400 companies.

Companies and individuals have been notified of the theft, WCF spokeswoman Peggy Larsen said. The company chose not to issue a statement about the theft last month because it feared that would draw attention to data that could be used for identity theft.

WCF is now paying for professional security watch for the affected workers, Larsen said.

The company is also changing internal policies that allowed for sensitive information to be stored on laptops.

“As soon as this was discovered, every auditor brought in their laptops so that all information was removed,” she said. “And, we’ve added additional levels of password protection.”

The stolen laptop was password protected but, in the future, information will be better encrypted for additional protection, Larsen said.

“This is the first time anything like this has happened,” the agency’s CEO Lane Summerhays said in a statement. “We are taking steps so it can be the last.”

Based in Salt Lake City, WCF provides worker compensation insurance company to more than 30,000 companies.

So far there’s no indication the stolen information has been used.

Client James W. Bunger, who runs a West Valley City energy development company, has little confidence in WCF, however. Bunger said he’s now paying to have his employees’ credit monitored.

“WCF has failed to assure us that their procedures have changed to avoid such breaches of security in the future”‘ said Bunger, who is president of James W. Bunger & Associates.

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