MADISON, Wis. – The Army National Guard is investigating why a contractor had data including Social Security numbers for 131,000 current and former soldiers on an unsecured personal laptop that was stolen, a spokesman said Thursday.
The Guard was sending letters this week warning those affected to protect themselves from identity theft after the July 27 theft of the laptop belonging to a contract employee, said Randy Noller, spokesman for the National Guard Bureau in Arlington, Va.
He would not release details, including the contractor involved and where it happened, but said police were investigating. The stolen laptop contains names, addresses, Social Security numbers and payment data for those enrolled in the Army National Guard Bonus and Incentives Program.
The Guard had no indication any data has been compromised, but affected soldiers should take precautionary steps such as putting fraud alerts on their credit, Noller said.
He did not know how many of the 131,000 affected are on active duty. Those who are deployed and believe identity theft has occurred are being told to contact the nearest Judge Advocate Office.
sponsored According to two 2015 surveys, 62 percent of Americans do not have enough savings to handle an unexpected emergency, much less any long-term plans.