The city of Charlotte says the personal information of 5,220 current and former city employees and elected officials has been lost.
The loss affects individuals who received health insurance from the city in early 2002.
According to a city news release, two DVDs containing the Social Security numbers of the affected individuals failed to arrive at the offices of Towers Watson & Co., the city’s benefits consulting firm, in Atlanta. The discs also contained prescription-drug information for five individuals.
The city blames a mail-service provider working with Towers Watson. The city says it was notified of the lapse on Feb. 23.
The files on the DVDs were not encrypted. That failed to comply with Towers Watson’s policies to prevent anyone who finds the discs from accessing the information, the city says. Because the lost information might be subject to protection under state and federal laws, the city has notified all affected individuals, the N.C. attorney general’s office and the secretary of Health and Human Services.
New York-based Towers Watson (NYSE:TW) says it doesn’t believe anyone’s data has been accessed by an inappropriate party. However, the company is providing two years of free identity-theft monitoring for the affected individuals, who have until July 31 to sign up for the service.
Towers Watson also has set up a hot line on behalf of the city at (888) 435-6031.
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