Missing laptop has workers' Social Security numbers

February 7, 2008

By Sam Lagrone, Staff Writer


A missing laptop computer belonging to Wake County Emergency Medical Services may contain personnel information about as many as 3,454 emergency workers.

Wake County officials previously said the laptop contained names, addresses and Social Security numbers of as many as 850 patients. They have raised that estimate to 1,188.

County spokesman Marshall Parrish said today that the laptop also may have the names and Social Security numbers of 3,454 emergency personnel. The number includes county paramedics, firefighters and contracted emergency medical technicians and paramedics from municipal agencies.

The county has contracted with an outside company to assist employees whose information was compromised. Assistant County Manager Joe Durham said the county is also looking into beefing up its laptop security procedures.

The EMS laptop went missing from its docking station at WakeMed on Jan. 17.

Wake EMS officials waited eight days to officially report the loss to WakeMed police while conducting an all-out search for the missing computer. Wake EMS uses laptops to streamline diagnostic and billing procedures for patients transported in the county's ambulances.

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