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EDS printed states Social Security numbers on mailed labels
PLANO, Texas, and MADISON, Wis. (1/11/08)--Electronic Data Systems Corp. (EDS) has seen no theft of data so far after Wisconsin officials disclosed Tuesday the company printed Social Security numbers on the address labels of a state agency's information brochures mailed to 260,000 people. The Plano, Texas-based information technology company, which provides information technology services to many credit unions, was hired by the Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services to send 260,000 brochures to members of Medicaid, SeniorCare and BadgerCare services (The Wisconsin State Journal Jan. 9 and 10, and Computerworld Jan. 10). Credit unions serving members using the services may need to monitor accounts of members whose numbers were divulged for possible identity theft. The news adds another concern for credit unions and financial institutions facing issues related to data loss stemming from actions by or against third-party vendors--human error. Most data losses experienced so far stemmed from theft--cybercriminals capturing information from web sites, databases, stolen laptops, and mail. Bill Ritz, spokesman for EDS, told The Wisconsin State Journal that there were no reports of illegal activity involving the information so far and that people were getting unnecessarily alarmed. The error was an isolated incident that occurred when the address file was created for mailing and was a human error, not a system error, he told Computerworld. EDS identified the source and took appropriate action to ensure it doesn't happen again, he said. The company set up a hotline and planned to mail letters to inform affected individuals next week that would outline details about free credit monitoring EDS would pay for over the next year. Wisconsin Deputy Secretary Karen Timberlake said EDS has been a vendor for state Medicaid services for the past 30 years. It has sent out similar mailings often, and this is the first time something like this has happened, she said. (Computerworld). The mailing was supposed to go to 485,000 of about 800,000 members enrolled in the state programs, but EDS caught the error midway through the mailing process. This is the second time within a year that an agency in the state has mailed out Social Security numbers on address labels. In December of 2006, about 171,000 taxpayers received a mailing from the state Department of Revenue with their Social Security numbers displayed on address labels. Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle ordered all state agencies to review their procedures for protecting personal information.


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