Stolen government laptops could expose taxpayers to identity theft

You’d think government auditors would be smart enough to secure their laptops, but they weren’t and now taxpayers’ personal information may be at risk after the computers were stolen.

The Pennsylvania Revenue Department announced Tuesday that it is mailing letters to 865 taxpayers whose “personally identifiable” data were on one of four laptops stolen from a rental car in San Francisco, where auditors were working last month.

Thieves smashed the windows of several parked vehicles, including the auditors’ car, the Revenue Department said in a news release.

The department said it determined that “some procedures to secure data may not have been followed with one laptop” but the department’s computer network hasn’t been accessed or hacked.

The taxpayers whose information was on the potentially unsecure laptop will receive free credit monitoring services and other protections. Details will be provided in the letter.

The Revenue Department is not calling people about this data breach, so if you receive a call, it is a scam and you should not provide any information to the caller. Phishing scams sometimes follow data breaches such as this, with crooks calling people under the guise of offering help but with the intention of stealing personal information.


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