Computers containing patient information stolen

A California medical group is notifying patients that they may be at risk of identity theft after burglars stole two computers containing their personal information.

The San Jose Medical Group is notifying 185,000 current and past patients, according to published reports. Attempts to reach the group Friday afternoon were unsucessful.

The Dell computers were stolen from the medical group's administrative offices on March 28. They contained patient names, addresses, confidential medical information, and Social Security numbers.

"While there is no indication that any confidential information has been misused or disclosed, we want you to be fully informed so that you can take any steps you feel are appropriate to protect yourself," said San Jose Medical Group CEO Ernie Wallerstein in the April 4 letter to patients. A copy was obtained by SC Magazine.

Patients should contact any one of the three major credit bureaus and place a fraud alert on their credit file, he advised in the letter, which came with the police report on the burglary.

In a statement on its web site, the medical group said a police investigation is ongoing and that it is cooperating with authorities to track down and prosecute those responsible for the theft. It also has notified the three major credit bureaus of the theft.

The security breach is the latest in a string of incidents that have exposed personal data of thousands.

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