Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Stolen BlueCross hard drives lead to credit watch

USA TODAY CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee will provide free credit monitoring for any customers whose personal information could be at risk after 57 computer hard drives were stolen from an office at the state's largest health insurer. BlueCross spokeswoman Mary Thompson said work is continuing to determine how many of the Chattanooga-based insurer's 3.1 million customers are affected. She could not provide an estimate Tuesday. The hard drives were taken Oct. 2 from a closet at the BlueCross Eastgate Town Center training center, where employees are preparing to relocate to the insurer's new state headquarters in downtown Chattanooga. BlueCross earlier reported that 68 hard drives were taken. The insurer on Friday notified companies and group administrators that the stolen hard drives contain customers' personal information such as Social Security numbers and birth dates. Thompson says BlueCross is assisting in the continuing criminal investigation and has bolstered security at all facilities by adding video surveillance, reviewing card access readers and increasing security personnel. She said hundreds of employees and temporary staff are retrieving and reviewing backup files, combing through 300,000 screen images and reviewing 50,000 hours of audio to determine what data was stolen. Letters to affected customers will offer free Equifax credit monitoring for a year. BlueCross also will set up a telephone hotline for questions. Thompson said BlueCross has insurance to cover related costs. Police said the equipment is highly specialized and investigators are looking for any hint of it being offered for exchange or for sale. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee:

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