Breach, Data Security

Laptop with public employee data stolen in New Mexico

The personal data of members, former members and beneficiaries of the Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA) in Santa Fe, N.M. may be at risk after a laptop was stolen from a car.

How many victims? 100,000

What type of personal information? Names, addresses, financial institution routing numbers, account types, account numbers, payment amounts and PERA identification numbers.

What happened? A Ford pick-up truck belonging to a third-party contractor was parked for eight hours on the night of June 12 in the lot of a Clovis Comfort Inn & Suites. Thieves broke into it and stole two computers, one of which held the PERA data.

Details: The stolen Dell laptop was the property of an employee at Atkinson & Co., an Albuquerque accounting firm hired to perform an annual audit of the state agency. The laptop's whereabouts remain unknown, but it does not appear to have been targeted for its contents.

What was done: Last week, PERA officials alerted 100,000 of its members, retirees and their beneficiaries, informing them of the breach and encouraging them to place a fraud alert on their credit files, to be on the lookout for suspicious activity on credit statements, and to notify their bank or financial institution of the breach.

Quote: "It's an all-hands-on-deck situation," Wayne Propst, PERA's executive director, said.

Source:, The Sante Fe New Mexican, "Laptop holding PERA data stolen from auditor's pickup at hotel lot," June 18, 2012.

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