Yuba County data stolen

July 28, 2007

By Daniel Witter, Appeal-Democrat


Yuba County scrambled this week to contact 70,000 people whose names and personal information were on a laptop computer stolen from the new Child Support Services office in Linda.

County officials said the stolen laptop contained Social Security numbers, birth dates, driver's license numbers and other private information on 70,000 people, including 30,000 children, whose cases were opened prior to May 2001.

The laptop was being used as a backup system for the county's computer system, said county spokesman Russ Brown. The computer requires double passwords for access, so officials are hoping the information inside remains safe.

"We think it (the personal data) was fairly well locked-up," he said.

The theft, discovered Monday, occurred at the new Health and Human Services Building on Packard Avenue in Linda. County staffers have been moving from the old office at the Feather River Center to the newly constructed office.

Brown said it's possible the thief or thieves saw the moving taking place and took advantage of the situation.

The department began notifying clients via letters of the incident and provided information about how to protect themselves from identity fraud.

Child Support Services has also set up a telephone line to answer client questions and provide assistance. The number is (530) 749-6000.

County officials are warning people to get credit checks and flag their accounts for possible identity theft to prevent any unauthorized activity.

The Yuba County Sheriff's Department, which is investigating the theft, offered little information Friday.

"We do have some leads," said Lt. Brandon Barnes. He didn't elaborate. Anyone with information on the theft should contact the Sheriff's Department at 749-7777.

Also missing from the Child Support Services office were a microwave and several computers screens, said Brown. Officials are hoping the thieves just wanted to sell the equipment and not access the information, he said.

"It appears to us they were interested in equipment and nothing more," Brown said.

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