Last Friday, Ohio Governor Ted Strickland announced the theft of a data storage device holding the personal information of all state employees. Today, it has been confirmed that the device also contained the personal information of Ohio state taxpayers.

"While it is unlikely that someone can access the data contained in the device without specialized knowledge and equipment, we are proactively providing identity theft prevention and protection services to the people of Ohio now impacted by this situation," Strickland said. "However, we have no information to date that the data has been accessed."

The governor is enlisting the help of Matthew Curtin, a nationally known expert on information technology, security and data forensics, to assist with the state's efforts. The Ohio Highway Patrol is leading the investigation, while the Department of Administrative Services is working on identity theft management services for those affected by this theft.

Among the newly confirmed data on the device:

  • A list of taxpayers with uncashed state personal income tax refund checks (and/or school district income tax refund checks) issued in 2005, 2006 and through May 29, 2007 -- The file contains the names, social security numbers and check amounts of up to 225,000 taxpayers with uncashed state personal income tax refund checks (and/or school district income tax refund checks) issued in 2005, 2006 and through May 29, 2007. This includes checks that were cashed after May 29, 2007. The list did not contain mailing addresses or bank account information.
  • A list of lottery winners with uncashed checks -- The file includes the names and social security numbers of 602 lottery winners who have yet to cash the check for their lottery winnings.
  • A list of uncashed checks from unclaimed funds payments-- The file includes the names and social security numbers of 2,488 Ohioans who have yet to cash checks for unclaimed funds payments.
  • A list of rejected Electronic Funds Transfers (EFT) -- The file includes the names and bank account numbers for approximately 650-1,000 EFT transactions that were unable to be completed because the EFT was bounced back from the banking institution.

"We will continue working hard to make sure that everyone affected by this data theft has up-to-date information as we confirm it," Strickland said. "I want to thank all the state employees who are giving their time to staff the call centers to assist their fellow state employees and Ohioans."

Starting later today, taxpayers will be able to search an online database to see if their name is listed in the files contained on computer back-up device stolen last week. If the search comes back that the taxpayer's name is on the list they will receive a pin number that will allow them to sign up for identity theft services.

Gina M. Scott  |  Writer