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A Tricare representative in the Pacific said servicemembers, family members and retirees there have nothing to worry about the recent theft of personal information at a government contractor’s office in the United States.

On Dec. 23, Tricare Management Activity officials announced that computers and electronic files were stolen Dec. 14 from its Tricare Central Regional health contractor, TriWest Healthcare Alliance Corporation in Phoenix. Officials labeled the theft a “break-in” but didn’t release specifics about the case, which is still under investigation.

“I think you can be reassured it was an isolated event,” said Navy Capt. Barry Cohen, executive director for Tricare Pacific Lead Agency in Hawaii. “It did not affect any of our customers. We have no security problems in Hawaii or anywhere else in the Pacific.”

Cohen said security checks are being made as a precaution against theft or computer fraud in the wake of the discovery.

“All regions are looking at security procedures to ensure this thing doesn’t happen again,” he added. “I’ve been here since 1995, and I can’t remember anything similar to this happening.”

Department of Defense officials didn’t learn of the theft until Dec. 20, six days after it allegedly occurred. Defense Criminal Investigative Service, FBI and other law enforcement agencies are investigating the case.

TriWest, which provides managed health care in 16 states, serves about 1.1 million active-duty personnel, their dependents and retirees.

The stolen computer equipment and files contained names, addresses, phone numbers, medical claim histories and Social Security numbers of about 500,000 servicemembers, their families and retirees.

In a press release, TriWest officials stated they would contact individuals affected by the theft. Any questions or concerns can be answered at (888) 339-9378. Customers also can e-mail computertheft@triwest.com.

— The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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