By Jonathan Krim
Washington Post Staff Writer
June 1, 2005
The FBI is investigating the theft of a laptop computer containing
travel account information for as many as 80,000 Justice Department
employees, but it is unclear how much personal data are at risk of
falling into the wrong hands.
Authorities think the computer was stolen between May 7 and May 9 from
Omega World Travel of Fairfax, which is one of the largest travel
companies in the Washington area and does extensive business with
Justice Department spokeswoman Gina Talamona said the data included
names and account numbers from travel account credit cards issued to
government employees by J.P Morgan Chase & Co. and its subsidiary Bank
She said the information did not include Social Security numbers or
home addresses that often are used by identity thieves to establish
credit or to purchase goods in other people's names.
In addition, she said the account information was protected by
passwords, although sophisticated hackers often can break into stored
Omega World Travel officials declined to comment on how the laptop was
stolen or other elements of the case, as did the FBI, which is
The theft is one of a spate of incidents over the past several months
that have resulted in sensitive data on millions of U.S. consumers
being stolen or exposed.
In December, Bank of America Corp. lost computer tapes containing
records on 1.2 million federal workers, including several U.S.
Talamona said that no Justice Department worker has reported
suspicious activity on his or her financial accounts since the
The banks issuing the travel cards have placed alerts on the workers'
accounts, Talamona said.
She added that Omega World Travel has agreed to several changes to its
security practices, including beefing up physical security at its
offices, conducting a computer security review and ensuring that the
stolen computer cannot be reconnected to the firm's network.
The travel cards have not been canceled, Talamona said.
=A9 2005 The Washington Post Company
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