Laptop with Augusta employees' personal information stolen

By: Jonathan Martin
By: Jonathan Martin

Augusta employees are upset tonight. All have received a letter saying their identities may have been stolen.

Roughly 2700 Augusta employees are learning that a laptop containing their personal information has been missing for three months.

Insurance provider ING says the computer was stolen from their mailroom.

Names, addresses, and social security numbers are all on this missing laptop...and though the company responsible for securing this information says it probably won't be accessed, city employees are still upset.

"I want to get to the bottom of this and see exactly how it happened," says Augusta mayor Deke Copenhaver. "It is not a good thing for this city."

To say the least. Augusta city employees are concerned about theft of their personal information.

"I find it quite troubling that my information was out there and that it had been stolen," says Lena Bonner, clerk of commission.

City workers are receiving a letter from employee benefit provider ING. The letter says a laptop was stolen from the firm's Minneapolis office in March.

The problem is the fact that the computer contains the names, addresses, and social security numbers of all 2700 city employees.

"I'm concerned about it," says city clerk Betty Murphy. "This means we're going to have to keep a check on our credit to see what's out there."

But perhaps no one's more concerned than city clerks Bonner and Nancy Morawski.

Knowing ING is a voluntary benefit program, neither enrolled or gave any information when representatives approached them. Yet both received letters saying their information too had been stolen.

"I declined to sign the waiver, thinking that by not signing the waiver that did not give them access to my personal info...which I'm finding out is not the case," Bonner says.

"I think someone is at fault for releasing this information in the first place," Morawski says.

Augusta Human Resources employment manager Moses McCauley says his office released the data of all full time employees, and says there was a good reason.

"For a company to give us a correct quote as far as cost, they would have to have info on all employees," he says.

But he was not able to tell us if the firm needed social security numbers to give a quote.

"I couldn't say exactly right now, because I haven't seen what was given," McCauley says.

ING is telling city workers there's a slim chance anyone can access the data, because most of it is encrypted. But Mayor Copenhaver says this is still a serious matter. After all, his information is also on the computer.

"Anytime you're talking about sensitive information getting out there, on myself or other city employees, that's of great concern."

The company believes the laptop was stolen for the hardware, not the information.

However, they are offering employees credit monitoring for up to a year.

Some tell us they are not sure if they will take the offer...because the service requires providing your social security number.


Mailing Address: P.O. Box 1212 Augusta, GA 30903 Main Telephone: (803) 278-1212 Newsroom: (803) 278-3111 Fax: (803) 442-4561
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