Naperville, Ill. - The thieves who made off with computer tapes containing the names and Social Security numbers of 130,000 Aetna Inc. customers appear unlikely to exploit the information, the Hartford, Conn.-based health insurer says. "There is no indication that data theft was targeted," Aetna says. Aetna announced yesterday that a lockbox containing the computer back-up tapes was stolen in late October from the Naperville, Ill., satellite office of a vendor, Addison, Texas-based Concentra Preferred Systems. Concentra audits medical clams and performs other cost containment services for insurers, and the tapes contained information on customers of "several" other undisclosed carriers, according to published reports. Information on an undetermined number of WellPoint Inc. customers may have been stolen in the burglary, reports say. "We believe the total number is an extremely small percentage of our membership," a spokesman for Indianapolis-based WellPoint says. In a report on the incident, Aetna quotes law enforcement officials who say the burglars also stole cash, pharmaceuticals, DVDs and movie passes, and did not appear to be looking for information to use in fraudulent schemes. The law enforcement agency characterized the perpetrators as "common thieves" looking for cash and other property to pawn. The thieves forced their way into the space occupied by Concentra, as well as the offices of five other businesses in the suburban Chicago building, Aetna says. Property was taken from all the tenants. Concentra officials, who notified Aetna of the loss on Nov. 3, say retrieving the data from the tapes would require a complex combination of commercial equipment and specialized software. The data was stored in unlabeled, difficult-to-understand formats, Concentra says. "These tapes cannot be used on a standard PC," Concetra officials say. Concentra reconstructed the data on the tapes and turned it over to Aetna on Nov. 10. Aetna's IT team worked around the clock to determine what information was stolen. They found the data included member names, hospital codes and either Social Security numbers or Aetna ID numbers for about 130,000 people. The names and Social Security numbers of about 750 medical workers were also on the tapes. Aetna is apologizing and notifying members and providers whose personal information was on the tapes. The insurer also is arranging free credit monitoring to help detect any misuse of the information. Concentra is offering a $10,000 reward in connection with the theft, according to published reports. Source: Aetna Inc.
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