Laptop with NYC retirees. finance data stolen

August 23, 2007

Associated Press,0,6813539,print.story

A laptop loaded with financial information on as many as 280,000 city retirees was stolen from a consultant who took the computer to a restaurant, city officials said.

The private consultant to the city Financial Information Services Agency had access to personal data about members of various city pension systems, mayoral spokesman Jason Post said Wednesday. The consultant told authorities Monday the portable computer had been stolen.

Post said the city would notify any retirees whose data might be compromised.

City Comptroller William Thompson, who oversees city pension funds, said he was "outraged" by the theft.

"I want to know how the members of our pension system are going to be protected from identity theft," he said.

Other computer thefts around the country within the past year have raised fears of security breaches for veterans, corporate employees, drivers and others whose data was stored in the pilfered machines. Congressional auditors said in July that personal information about Americans is lost or stolen from government or private computers almost every day.

But few identity thefts have been tied to such security breaches, primarily because it's often hard to trace how stolen data gets used, said the General Accounting Office, Congress' auditing arm.

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