Stolen computer stolen had personal info of 4,000 people at Iwakuni, Okinawa bases
January 27, 2008
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — A laptop computer stolen Jan. 11 reportedly contains personal information on 4,000 clients of the New Parent Support Program at Marine bases on Okinawa and at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan.
Marine officials said the computer, owned by J&E Associates, a federal contractor for Marine Corps Community Services, contained data that included client names, ranks, Social Security numbers, birth dates, mailing addresses and the names of children.
Those clients include servicemembers, government employees and their dependents, said 1st Lt. Garron Garn, of the Marines Corps Consolidated Public Affairs Office.
“The information contained on the laptop does not include driver’s license numbers, credit card or banking information,” Garn said. “The private information stored on the stolen laptop was password protected.”
The theft is being investigated by the Marine Corps Criminal Investigation Division, he said.
“Marine Corps Bases Japan and MCCS will review the results of the investigation and make any changes necessary to avoid future compromise of personally identifiable information,” Garn said. “The Marine Corps takes very seriously its responsibility to safeguard the personal information of its servicemembers, their families and government employees.
“Our information systems are password protected, and our users are educated on ways to protect personally identifiable information.”
He said personally identifiable information is any piece of data that can uniquely and reliably identify a person, and may include name, Social Security number and enlistment contract information.
“Marine Corps Bases Japan and the MCCS New Parent Support Program are working closely with the contractor involved to notify the affected individuals as soon as possible,” Garn said.
The New Parent Support Program also sent out a letter to present and past participants informing them of the security breach.
“At this time, we have no further information on who is responsible for the theft, nor is there any evidence that any data has been misused,” the letter says.
Think you may be at risk?
Current and past participants in the New Parent Support Program who believe their private information may have been compromised as a result of a laptop computer theft should call program officials at at 645-0396, said 1st Lt. Garron Garn, of the Marines Corps Consolidated Public Affairs Office.
People concerned about the possibility of someone using the data on the laptop to steal their identities also should log on to http://www.consumer.gov/IDTheft for protective action, Garn said.
“Additionally, they may place a fraud alert on their credit files for up to 24 months by contacting one of the three national credit bureaus: Equifax at 800-766-0008, Transunion at 800-680-7289, or Experian at 888-397-3742,” he said.
“A fraud alert will generate a free credit report that should be reviewed for suspicious activity.”
“We strongly urge all those affected to take steps to protect their personal privacy by contacting one of the national credit bureaus and placing a fraud alert on their consumer credit file,” the New Parent Support Program suggested in a letter to participants.
“It is also recommended to monitor future credit reports and in general to be watchful for unusual activity with financial implications.”
— Stars and Stripes