By Todd Weiss
June 05, 2006
A laptop computer containing the names and personal information of an
undisclosed number of retirees of grocery store chain Ahold USA
disappeared last month after it was placed in checked baggage on a
commercial U.S. flight and the bag was lost by the airline.
Barry Scher, a spokesman for Ahold USA in Quincy, Mass., said the
company has notified the retirees about the incident by mail but added
that information about the number of affected former employees and the
kind of data kept on the laptop is not being made public. "We're not
giving out any numbers to protect our people," he said.
Scher said the laptop was lost by an employee of Electronic Data
Systems Corp., which provides data processing services for the Ahold
USA Pension Plan. The laptop was password-protected and contained a
file with the personal information of retired participants in the
pension plan and of some other former employees of Ahold USA
subsidiaries, including Stop & Shop Supermarket Cos., also in Quincy,
Mass., according to a company statement.
Kimberly Walton, a spokeswoman for EDS, today acknowledged that the
computer was lost amid baggage on a flight after an airline employee
asked the EDS worker to check the bag rather than carry it onto the
aircraft. "By doing so, that employee violated our company policy,"
The employee has been disciplined, but Walton would not comment
further on whether the person still works for EDS. After the laptop
was determined to be lost, the EDS employee did notify the airline and
local police about the incident, she said. EDS then told Ahold about
what had happened, Walton said.
Scher and Walton would not specify when or where the incident occurred
or what airline was involved. Walton said the company has received no
reports that any of the data has been used illegally.
EDS and Ahold notified the three major credit bureaus were notified of
the data loss, and personal notification letters are being sent out to
the affected retirees. A toll-free telephone line has also been set up
to allow retirees to get information on obtaining free credit reports
and free credit monitoring for one year, Walton said.
Ahold USA is a subsidiary of Amsterdam-based Royal Ahold, an
international grocery store operator. In addition to Stop & Shop,
Ahold USA operates Carlisle, Pa.-based Giant Food Stores, Buffalo,
N.Y.-based Tops Market stores and Landover, Md.-based Giant Food
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