More "Reported" Data Loss Incidents...More People at Risk for an Identity Theft

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Thieves are systematically pilfering sensitive personal data from companies, government agencies, colleges and hospitals like never before. More than 162 million records have been reported lost or stolen in 2007, triple the 49.7 million that went missing in 2006. And according to the Identity Theft Resource Center's recent reports, data loss through August of 2008 has far surpassed the entire 2007 reported data breaches.

Here's a few of the latest data breach headlines...

A missing laptop puts Starbucks workers' at risk for identity theft.

Starbucks Corp. confirmed Monday that a laptop containing private information on 97,000 employees was stolen Oct. 29.

The information included names, addresses and Social Security numbers, according to an undated memo addressed to affected employees.

"We are writing to inform you of a recent incident that may have involved a breach of your private information," said the memo, which was posted at and was verified as authentic by Starbucks spokeswoman Deb Trevino on Monday.

"The private information of approximately 97,000 U.S. Partners, including yours, was stored on this laptop. At present, we have no indication that the private information has been misused," the memo said.

It also asked affected employees to monitor their financial accounts for suspicious activity and to take appropriate steps to protect against potential identity theft. It offered free assistance from credit service Equifax Inc., of Atlanta, which provides an early warning of any changes to an individual's credit file.

This isn't the first time a Starbucks laptop has gone missing. In November 2006, the company said it was unable to find four out-of-use laptops at its headquarters.

They contained the names, addresses and Social Security numbers of 50,000 former and 10,000 then-current employees. The Seattle-based company waited two months to disclose the problem while an internal investigation was completed to try to find the computers.

Sandwich, MA loses nearly $50k to hacker
Scheme may have international ties

The same type of data security breach that has menaced retail stores, restaurants, and other businesses has made its way into the Sandwich treasurer's office, where a hacker with possible international ties stole tens of thousands of dollars from town coffers in a complex computer-fraud scheme.
Sandwich officials have warned their counterparts in surrounding towns of the computer breach.

Police believe the hacker used a virus to attack Treasurer Craig Mayen's computer and implant a logger that monitored any keystrokes he entered. With technology similar to what is known as a sniffer, a device that tracks computer information, the hacker was able to record Mayen's security code and password as he typed them, and used that information to make withdrawals from town bank accounts.

The money was then transferred to four accounts - three in Florida and one in Georgia.

Police Chief Michael J. Miller said yesterday that Mayen discovered the breach two weeks ago, and notified police detectives. Investigators were able to determine that the scheme netted close to $50,000.

Miller said yesterday that detectives will ask the state attorney general's office and the FBI for help in what he called a complex case. "That's the problem with tracking all this stuff, we don't have that ability," the chief said. "At this point, it's outside our realm of expertise." MORE

Mainframe Breach at LensCrafters Parent Hits 59 Thousand
Eyewear giant Luxottica Group becomes the latest in a string of high-profile data leaks.

More than 59,000 employees of Luxottica Group may be at risk after a hacker made off with their personal information in the latest incident of a massive corporate data breach.

Italy-based Luxottica Group S.p.A. owns the LensCrafters eyewear chain and is the world's largest designer, manufacturer and distributor of high-end eyewear -- including products bearing the Ray-Ban, Dolce & Gabbana, Donna Karan, Polo Ralph Lauren, Prada and Versace brands.

Luxottica's IT security discovered that its mainframe had been breached during an investigation in July and contacted local law enforcement, a spokesperson at Luxottica's U.S. headquarters in Mason, Oh. told

According to Lt. Jeff Braley of the Hamilton Township, Ohio, police department, 59,419 Luxottica employees lost their data through the breach. MORE

Think you might be affected by a Data Breach? Take proactive measures to lessen the impact of an identity theft -before the worst occurs!

See earlier tips & blogs:

 Are you one of millions to be notified your data has been stolen?

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