Some spring cleaning by Hartford, Conn.-based Aetna Inc.  has resulted in a serious data breach for the health insurer.

Aetna has acknowledged that paper files containing personal information, including name, address, Social Security number and date of birth, were inadvertently left in a file cabinet the company was disposing of as it moved offices. The files in the wayward cabinet were health plan dependent enrollment forms from the 2003 to 2007 period for people who worked for mid-sized employers and lived in New Jersey or Pennsylvania.

The company is notifying and offering free credit monitoring to the approximately 4,900 people impacted by the breach. The company says a vendor hired to move and discard the old office furniture later put the file cabinet out for clearance on among other furniture from its warehouse. The person who subsequently obtained the cabinet found the documents and contacted Aetna.

Aetna says it “is taking corrective actions to tighten our processes for office moves and our document retention policies.”


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