Burglary leads to ID theft concerns

February 6, 2007

By Don Lehman


More than 500 people whose personal information was stolen from a Bay Street apartment where a state tax auditor lives have been notified they may be susceptible to identity theft.

A Dell laptop computer, computer modem and laptop case that contained documents were stolen from the auditor's home during the Jan. 20-21 burglary.

Robert Lillpop, a spokesman for the state Department of Labor, said the laptop had little personal information on it and security features that should lessen the chance of it being accessed.

But he said the documents contained personal information for 537 people who were employed by 13 Capital Region businesses the auditor had been working with, Lillpop said. Most of the people are residents of the Capital Region, but some live outside the area, he said.

They were advised to take steps to help prevent identity theft but Lillpop said there had been no reports of any identity theft occurring to those whose information was compromised.

Glens Falls Police Capt. Kevin Conine said police have several leads in the case. He said the victim told police the door was locked, but there was no sign of forced entry.

The theft happened sometime between 9 p.m. on Jan. 20 and 6 a.m. Jan. 21. The computer's owner was not there at the time, Conine said. The victim believed the lock to the door might have been picked, he said.

Lillpop said there was a gap between when the theft occurred and when the letters were sent out because it took several days for the agency to determine what information was present with the laptop, and who was affected.

"Once we determined who it was, we sent the letters out immediately," he said. "This is the first time we've had a security breach of this kind."

He said the employee was a field auditor who often took his computer and documents home because part of his duties include working from home.

In light of the theft, the Department of Labor was reviewing its policies relating to employees taking work home and how the department notified the people who were affected.

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