Kodak warns of data theft

June 22, 2005

By Joy Davia


About 5,800 former Eastman Kodak Co. workers have been warned that their personal information may have been stolen.

In a letter, Kodak informed them that such information including names, Social Security numbers, birth dates and benefits information was on a password-protected laptop that was stolen from a consultant's locked car trunk.

The laptop belonged to Hewitt Associates, a human resources consulting firm working with Kodak on the administration of its employee benefit plans, said Kodak spokesman Gerard Meuchner.

Kodak officials have no reason to believe that identity theft has occurred, he said.

"The nature of the incident a laptop stolen out of the trunk of a car, along with other luggage suggests the perpetrator wanted to steal property rather than information," Meuchner said.

This incident comes on the heels of several other security lapses at national companies, including last week's announcement that 40 million credit and debit card accounts were at risk for fraud after hackers broke into a company that processes payments for all the major cards.

Kodak this week sent letters detailing the theft to the affected workers, all of whom left the company within the last three years. The laptop did not include former workers' bank and credit card account numbers, home or work addresses or refer to employment with Kodak, according to the letter.

Hewitt will pay for one year of free credit monitoring for the workers, and up to $50,000 in identity theft insurance, which includes access to fraud resolution representatives.

But such moves didn't ease the mind of Michele Denber, 52, who left Kodak in May 2003.

"My main concern is that somebody will get a hold of this information and start using my Social Security number to open accounts in my name and ruin my credit rating," said Denber, of Brighton, who received one of the letters.

"I'm upset that the information was stolen," she added. "But I'm also upset that Kodak was so lax in security that they'd allow this type of thing to happen."

Meuchner would not say when or where the theft happened.

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