December 14, 2006 in Business

382,000 at Boeing at risk of ID theft

Associated Press The Spokesman-Review

Taking precautions

Current and former Boeing employees who are notified by the company that their personal information was on the stolen laptop should take the following steps to protect themselves against identity theft, Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna said in a press release.

Request a credit report security freeze: A freeze will block access to your credit report from potential creditors. You may not be able to open new credit while a freeze is in place, but you can request that it be temporarily lifted for that purpose.

To request a freeze: Write to each of the three major credit reporting agencies — Equifax, Experian and Trans Union — and request a credit report security freeze. You’ll need a copy of Boeing’s police report, which the company will supply to those who call 1-866-473-2016.

Request a fraud alert: A fraud alert is a less restrictive option than a freeze, which lasts for 90 days. Place an alert by calling one of the reporting agencies, and they will share the information with the other two.

For more information: Individuals affected by the data breach can call 1-866-473-2016 for information, or visit Boeing’s Web site at

CHICAGO — A Boeing Co. laptop containing the names and Social Security numbers of 382,000 workers and retirees has been stolen, putting the employees at risk for identity theft and credit-card fraud.

The theft, which was confirmed Tuesday, was the third such incident at Boeing in just over a year.

Files on the computer also contained home addresses, phone numbers and birth dates. Some of the files listed salary information.

“It’s very disturbing to us when things like this happen, and there are certain steps you can take right away … but we realize we need to go above and beyond those,” said Tim Neale, a spokesman for Chicago-based Boeing.

The laptop was stolen earlier this month when an employee left it unattended, Neale said.

He would not reveal where the theft happened, but said no proprietary, customer or supplier data were on the computer.

The computer was turned off when it was stolen and a password is needed to log onto the desktop, Neale said Wednesday.

Boeing began contacting current and former employees Tuesday night, and it will provide credit-monitoring services for three years for those affected, Neale said.

There is no evidence that any of the previous thefts have resulted in wrongdoing, he said.

A Boeing laptop containing information on roughly 160,000 current and former employees was stolen in November 2005.

Then, in April, a laptop containing information on 3,600 employees and retirees was stolen.

Neale would not say whether any disciplinary action has been taken against the employee involved in the recent theft. However, he acknowledged that in each of the incidents company policy was violated.

“It’s frustrating because obviously you don’t want to see this happen,” he said.

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