Laptop with workers' personal information stolen from auditors

November 17, 2007

By Kelly Baker, Staff Writer

A laptop stolen from a Kettering auditing firm contained personal information on employees of up to 10 businesses, including Springfield-based Ohio Masonic Home, officials said Friday.

Battelle & Battelle LLC would not disclose the number of individuals affected by the theft but Masonic Home officials said 600 of its employees' information was stored in the laptop.

Battelle was conducting the home's pension plan audit when the laptop was stolen last month from an employee's vehicle.

Ohio Masonic Home, which learned of the theft on Wednesday, notified its employees in person and by letter, and will provide for them a credit-monitoring service, said CEO David Bannerman. There did not appear to be incidents of identity theft as of Friday, he said.

The stolen laptop requires "multiple levels of authentication to access the data on the machine," Battelle stated in a letter to Masonic Home. "We feel that the chance of your data being accessed by an outside party is quite slim."

This summer, personal information on 439 injured workers was stolen from an Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation laptop. Weeks before, a state-owned back-up data tape, with personal information on more than 400,000 Ohioans, was stolen from an intern's car.

This is the first such incident for Battelle, which protects its security "very carefully," said spokeswoman Michelle Kaye. The company has met "confidentially" with each of its clients to discuss how any losses would be handled, she said.

Suspicious activity on a credit report should be reported to the local police department. A complaint should be filed with the Federal Trade Commission at or at (877) 438-4338.

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