Stolen laptop contains info on more than 80,000 Florida truckers

| Thursday, August 10, 2006

A laptop containing the personal information of more than 133,000 Florida residents used in an investigation into CDL and airman certificates has been stolen.

The laptop, stolen from a government-owned vehicle, holds personal information – including Social Security numbers, dates of birth and addresses – of approximately 80,667 Miami-Dade County CDL holders, as well as 42,500 pilots.

In addition, the laptop contained information on 9,005 personal driver's license holders plus 491 CDL holders who tested at a Tampa-area facility, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General.

“The way it's been reported to us … it was a simple theft of a laptop from a car,” David Barnes, a spokesman for the OIG's office, told “Land Line Now.”

According to an OIG press release, the password-protected laptop was stolen July 27 in Miami. The data was not encrypted, according to Barnes.

OIG investigators do no believe that the perpetrator or perpetrators targeted the laptop because of any knowledge of the data contents.

Special agents in the OIG's Miami office were using information on the laptop in a multi-agency task force focusing on the use of fraudulent information to obtain CDLs or airman certificates. The database on the laptop contains general lists and not lists of individuals under investigation.

The driver's license information of people licensed at the Tampa-area facility was specifically used as part of an investigation into suspected fraud at the licensing facility, which recently resulted in a guilty plea, according to the OIG press release.

“We have at least 10 OIG agents working with at least 15 Miami-Dade police working full-time on the case trying to recover the laptop. Once the laptop is recovered, if we are so fortunate, we will conduct forensic tests to see if the data has been compromised.”

Miami-Dade CDL holders who obtained their licenses after April 2003, Florida pilots who obtained their airman certificates after March 2003, and drivers who obtained their personal driver's licenses or CDLs from the Largo facility after July 2005 are not affected.

People who think their information might be at risk can call OIG's Hotline Complaint Center at 1-800-424-9071 or visit OIG's website at www.oig.dot.gov . OIG is offering a reward of $10,000 for the return of the laptop.

– By Jami Jones, senior editor
Jami_jones@landlinemag.com

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