The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) has told members that a computer hard drive containing names, addresses and Social Security numbers has been lost.
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“The hard drive was damaged and had been sent out for repair by an employee in direct violation of the Institute's internal control policies and procedures,” Anthony Pugliese, Senior Vice President of Finance and Operations, told members in a May 8 letter.
The hard drive, which did not contain credit card information, has not been found despite “exhaustive investigations” within the AICPA and FedEx Express.
While there is no evidence of inappropriate access of the hard drive – it appears to be a misplaced package – the AICPA is offering one year of credit monitoring , at no cost, starting May 23. The AICPA says that in the vast majority of cases like this, the lost information is not misused.
The incident was reported to the three major credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, and the state boards of accountancy and the state CPA societies.
In addition, Pugliese wrote, the AICPA is in the process of deleting Social Security numbers from its database. “We will cease collecting and maintaining them, expect in limited circumstances, and even for those, we are accelerating our efforts to develop other means of uniquely identifying our members.”
For more information, go to www.aicpa.org/PrivacyInfo or call the AICPA's Privacy Information Center at 800.826.3881.