June 21, 2007 By Gina M. Scott
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:
"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.
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