Personal info was on stolen computers

| 29 Sep 2011 | 10:24

    DUNMORE - The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation on Dec. 1 began notifying nearly 11,400 customers whose personal information was contained on two computers stolen during a Nov. 28 burglary at PennDOT’s Wilkes-Barre Driver License Center. PennDOT also took immediate action to increase security of customer data at its facilities across Pennsylvania to reduce the risk of such a breach occurring again. Thieves also took equipment and supplies that could be used to make fraudulent drivers license and photo identification cards. State police are investigating the crime. “First and foremost, we want to let people know that we understand the serious nature of this matter and sincerely apologize for the inconvenience and concern it will cause; and that we have taken swift action to address this breach and assist our customers,” PennDOT Deputy Secretary Betty Serian said at a Nov. 30 press conference. “A key part of PennDOT’s mission is safeguarding the information customers entrust to us and we took immediate action to secure the integrity of that data at all PennDOT facilities. “We will try to do everything we can to assist affected customers in ensuring the safety of their personal information. We will place a fraud alert with the credit bureaus and will offer free credit checks for up to one year. We will also investigate other credit monitoring services that can be legally provided. We are working out the details on how that program will operate and will share that with customers who call our toll free number as soon as the system is in place.” The burglary occurred at about 11:30 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 28, when thieves breached security at the driver license center and stole two computers, which contained the personal information of 11,384 customers who had their photos taken for a driver’s license or photo identification card at the Wilkes-Barre center between Aug. 30, 2006, and Nov. 28, 2006. Only those customers who had their photos taken at the center in that specific time period are affected by the theft. The information stored on those computers included names, addresses, dates of birth, driver’s license numbers and the last four digits of Social Security numbers. In the case of 5,348 of those customers, the personal information stored included complete Social Security numbers. A toll-free hotline, 1-800-PENNDOT, has been established for customers to contact if they believe they have been affected. Customers may call this hotline daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. In addition, PennDOT will begin mailing notification letters to the 11,384 affected customers by Saturday, explaining what happened, what steps they will need to take to protect their identity and how PennDOT will assist them. PennDOT is cooperating with the state police in the investigation. Other state and federal law enforcement and homeland security have been notified. Pennsylvania Crimestoppers is offering a reward for any information about this crime that leads to an arrest. Please contact PA Crimestoppers, toll-free number, at 1-800-4-PA-TIPS. For additional information on identity theft, the steps you need to take if you believe you have been a victim of identity theft as well as other helpful tips, visit PennDOT’s Driver and Vehicle Services Web site at or the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency’s Web site at