YMCA laptop with 65,000 members' information stolen

June 1, 2006

By Steve Peoples and Paul Edward Parker, projo.com and Journal staff writers


YMCA officials announced today that a laptop computer was stolen last week containing personal information for more than 65,000 members in Rhode Island, including members of the YMCA of Greater Providence and branches in Woonsocket, Smithfield and Pawtucket.

The information includes names and addresses and, for some members, credit card numbers, checking account numbers, bank routing numbers, and, "for a very small minority," Social Security numbers, the Y said in a statement released this afternoon.

The information on the laptop, which was one of two stolen from the YMCA's administrative offices on Richmond Street, also includes child care information such as the names and addresses of children in the company's child care program, as well as personal medical information for the children such as allergies and medications.

The thefts were discovered Wednesday, May 24, according to YMCA spokeswoman Michelle A. Riendeau, noting that the company waited to announce the problem to determine exactly what information was on the computers.

The YMCA will begin notifying members today. Because several Y's are part of the Greater Providence network, those members range across the state, from Barrington to South Kingstown, as well as the Newman YMCA in Seekonk, Mass.

To date, there is no evidence that the personal information has been compromised, Riendeau said.

The personal information on the computers is "not readily available," according to a statement released this afternoon by the YMCA, which noted there are "several measures of security built into the system." Riendeau would not be more specific about the levels of security, nor would she describe the stolen computers.

She added that whoever has the computer may not know about the personal information.

The Greater Providence YMCA notified authorities when the company discovered two laptop computers were missing. Police determined that a thief broke through two different doors in the Richmond Street, Providence office building to get to the computers. They have not determined exactly when the thefts occured, and the police do not believe it was an inside job, according to Riendeau.

Riendeau urged YMCA members to contact their banks and credit card companies to protect themselves from identity theft.

"All affected individuals are being notified about this issue, and we will work with them to address any concerns or questions they may have," said Susan Rittscher, president and CEO of the Greater Providence YMCA, in a statement.

Earlier this year, computer hackers gained access to more than 4,000 credit card numbers stored by the state's Web site, www.ri.gov. While affected people were urged to contact their credit card companies, no evidence surfaced that the hackers used the information they obtained.

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