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FTC latest government agency to have breach

The Federal Trade Commission said today in a statement that two laptops, one containing personal information of 110 people, were stolen from a locked car.

Some of the confidential data included names, addresses, Social Security numbers, birth dates and financial account numbers of defendants in current and past FTC cases.

In the statement, the FTC downplayed the possibility of identity theft.

"The FTC has no reason to believe the information on the laptops, as opposed to the laptops themselves, was the target of the theft," the statement said. "In addition, the stolen laptops were password protected and the personal information was a very small part of several thousand files contained in one of the laptops."

Letters, which will describe what personal information was stolen and ways to protect against identity theft, are being sent to affected individuals, the statement said. The FTC has agreed to offer one year of free credit monitoring.

The agency’s inspector general is investigating the theft. Police, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security were notified.

This is the third time in less than two months that the personal records belonging to a federal government agency were placed at risk for identity theft.

A hacker obtained data belonging to the federal Department of Energy’s nuclear weapons agency last year, stealing the names and Social Security numbers of 1,500 department employees.

The data theft occurred at a National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) system in Albuquerque, N.M., according to numerous published reports. None of the victims were notified.

That followed the breach of millions of current and former U.S. Armed Forced members.

A computer containing the data of 17.5 million victims was stolen from an employee’s home May 3 in Virginia. The VA has said the employee violated department policy when he left the office with the laptop.

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