http://www.wired.com/news/privacy/0,1848,57045,00.html Jan. 02, 2003 PHOENIX -- A government contractor posted a $100,000 reward Tuesday in the theft of Social Security numbers and other personal records of 500,000 military service members and their families in 16 states. The theft of computer hard drives from TriWest Healthcare Alliance could turn into one of the largest identity thefts on record if the information is misused, the Federal Trade Commission said. On Tuesday, prosecutors and TriWest jointly announced the reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of thieves who broke into Phoenix-based TriWest's office Dec. 14 and stole the equipment. The theft came as the Defense Department is working to computerize the medical records of all military personnel. The stolen computers have no connection to the larger project, but Pentagon officials are "going to learn from this issue and do what's necessary" to protect sensitive information, spokesman Jim Turner said. The stolen hard drives contained names, addresses, phone numbers, medical claim histories and Social Security numbers. TriWest provides managed health care to about 1.1 million active-duty personnel, their dependents and retirees in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming and western Texas. David McIntyre Jr., TriWest's chief executive officer, said there is no indication that any client information has been misused. U.S. Attorney Paul Charlton said there is nothing to indicate the crime was tied to terrorism, and that the information could not be used to get into secure military areas. McIntyre declined comment on the company's security other than to say it has improved since the break-in. The theft hasn't disrupted TriWest's operations, he said. The Pentagon is building a network to computerize the entire military health care system, including patient records of 8.7 million service members, retirees and their families who receive medical care under Pentagon programs. The Pentagon is planning to roll out the project at up to seven military hospitals across the nation after successfully testing the concept at four locations. The system eventually will be expanded worldwide. The Defense Department said the system will give health care professionals quick and easy access to patient records, but privacy experts say it could make identity theft easier. The Pentagon recently received an "F" grade for its computer security from a House Government Reform subcommittee. The report did not take into account the unfinished computer project. For more information on the theft at TriWest, enrollees can call the company toll-free at (888) 339-9378, e-mail computertheftat_private or visit TriWest's website. - ISN is currently hosted by Attrition.org To unsubscribe email majordomoat_private with 'unsubscribe isn' in the BODY of the mail.
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