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April 28th, 2008

Coos County Accounting Firm Stolen Laptop Contained Personal Information

The theft of a laptop computer owned by an accounting firm has made nearly 500 employees of Coos County and private organizations concerned about identity theft. County officials worry the data may have contained employees’ names, Social Security numbers and other personal information, which had been used in recent audits performed by Hough, MacAdam & Wartnik LLC of North Bend.

According to a Coos Bay Police press log, at approximately 7:28 a.m. on March 5, officers received a report of a woman flagging down Officer Tony Wetmore, identified as 122 in the log, near Coos Bay City Hall. Crystal Albiar, 30, told Wetmore a laptop computer had been stolen from a vehicle, which, Wetmore said, belonged to Albiar. The victim is listed on the press log as Hough, MacAdam & Wartnik. Albiar is a senior accountant at the firm.

Later that day, a letter from the company was sent to clients stating that a serious data security incident may have involved clients’ personal information.

So far there have been no known reports of identity theft from any of the 482 employees notified. The computer has not been found and, according to a letter from the firm, thieves sometimes hold victims’ information for later use.

The CPA said the computer was password protected, as were certain files. Some of the information contained in the programs require “special knowledge in order to find the personal information inside of the program”.

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