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News Release Listing
Contact: Kathy Spears, 360-902-7893, kathleen.spears@dshs.wa.gov
March 29, 2013
Stolen laptop contained information about DSHS clients

OLYMPIA: A private contractor's laptop computer containing confidential and personal health information on 652 state Department of Social and Health Services clients was discovered to be stolen Feb. 4 in Gig Harbor.

The computer belonging to Dr. Sunil Kakar was recovered in a pawn shop by Gig Harbor Police on Feb. 14. Security measures, including password protection, were in place. There is no evidence that the files were accessed by unauthorized people or used for identity theft.

"We are unable to determine whether the data was accessed or further copied or disclosed. While there is no information to show that the stolen data has been accessed or used for identity theft, I am erring on the side of caution and notifying every person who might be affected," said Kakar in letters to the 652 clients. "I am extremely sorry for this situation and understand it may cause concern, embarrassment and inconvenience. I try very hard to earn your trust, and that includes protecting sensitive information about you. I take client confidentiality very seriously."

All 652 clients have been notified of the potential breach of their confidential information and steps they can take to protect themselves from identity theft in the event that information had been compromised.

The clients whose information was included on the laptop were receiving services from the Department’s Economic Services Administration.

Depending on the services rendered, the client information could include client names; identification numbers; psychological evaluations, including notes and reports with diagnoses; dates of birth, the last four digits of Social Security numbers; dates of services; and addresses.

The following steps are provided to protect against identity theft.

1. Contact the fraud departments of any one of the three major credit bureaus listed below. Have a fraud alert placed on your file.

Credit bureau Phone# for fraud alert Web site

a. Equifax (800) 525-6285 www.equifax.com

b. Experian (888) 397-3742 www.experian.com

c. Trans Union (800) 680-7289 www.transunion.com

2. Request a copy of your credit report, which is available free of charge. Review the information on your credit report carefully to see if any unauthorized charges have been made to your existing accounts. Call 1-877-322-8228 or visit www.annualcreditreport.com to get a free copy of your credit report.

3. If you find a problem on your credit report, contact the business where the fraudulent charge occurred. Talk to someone in their security or fraud department. If fraud is confirmed, you should file a police report. Also call DSHS Customer Connections at 1 (877) 501-2233 and let them know that you filed a police report.

4. Freeze your credit reports to stop someone from obtaining a loan in your name. Freezing your credit stops consumer bureaus from releasing credit information about you. Most companies will not loan money to someone without first obtaining credit information. You can unfreeze your credit information when you wish to obtain a loan by providing the correct private identification number.

5. For more information on actions you can take to protect yourself from identity theft, visit the websites of the Washington State Office of the Attorney General at: http://www.atg.wa.gov/ConsumerIssues/ID-Privacy.aspx and for the Federal Trade Commission at: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft//.

Any DSHS clients who have questions should contact the Community Services Division (CSD) Customer Relations Unit at 1 (800) 865-7801.

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DSHS does not discriminate and provides equal access to its programs and services for all persons without regard to race, color, gender, religion, creed, marital status, national origin, sexual orientation, age, veteran’s status or the presence of any physical, sensory or mental disability.