University of Utah Hospitals and Clinics backup tapes stolen

A policy violation led to the theft of 2.2 million billion records stored on backup tapes belonging to the University of Utah Hospital and Clinics.

What type of personal information? Social Security numbers of 1.3 million patients, dating back 16 years.

What happened? A metal box holding the tapes was stolen from the vehicle of a third-party storage vendor's vehicle. The employee, a 16-year veteran of Perpetual Storage, was supposed to immediately deliver the tapes to an off-site vault but took them home instead, where they were left in the employee's van and stolen. The employee has since been fired.

What was the response? The health care system is notifying victims and offering them free credit monitoring.

Details: The tapes require specialized equipment to be accessed. The FBI, which is investigating, does not believe the thieves were after the data; instead, they probably though the metal box contained cash.

Quote:"We understand this is unwelcome news to our patients." - Lorris Betz, senior vice president for health services at University Health Care.

Source:; The Salt Lake Tribune, "U of U medical records stolen, 2.2 million patients' data at risk," June 11.


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