Martin C. Evans

Missing Records Risks ID Theft For NY Reservists

In Uncategorized on April 22, 2010 at 4:42 pm

The Army is warning about 12,000 military and civilian personnel once associated with a reserve command based at Fort Totten that they should check their credit records, after discovering that it cannot locate files containing information that could make them vulnerable to identity theft.

The records cover reservists from Long Island, New York City and upstate who were assigned to the 77th Regional Readiness Command and its subordinate units from 2001 until the unit was absorbed by the 99th Regional Support Command in 2008.

“Our greatest challenge will be to find people who have moved on and are no longer associated with” the reserve unit, said Army spokesman William Roberts, who said the Army is sending letters and e-mails to the last known addresses of personnel associated with the 77th RRC.

Roberts said the e-mailings have been limited to 1,000 per day because of a limitation on the e-mail system being used, meaning the notification process could take two weeks.

The files were were discovered missing when the new command asked for an accounting of the old unit’s records. They could have been burned, shredded or stolen.

The e-mail sent to area reservists warned of “a possible loss of confidential or Personally Identifiable Information.”
“Since the whereabouts of these files are presently unknown, the possibility exists that Soldiers’ and civilian employees’ information may have been compromised,” it said.
The e-mail warned recipients to “check credit bureau reports and be aware of the possibilities of identity theft.” Current or former Army personnel wanting more information were directed to call 609-562-7430 or email RSC099_PAOPII@usar.army.mil.

One of several area reserve units that fell under the 77th RRC is the 800th Military Police Brigade, based in Uniondale. A personnel officer there said it has about 300 reservists from Long Island and New York City, including Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.

Roberts said there have been no known instances of identity theft based on the lost records thus far.

But several local soldiers have expressed alarm, including Byung Sa, a reservist and president of Stony Brook University’s Veterans Student Organization, who was notified Wednesday.

“This is disappointing but not too surprising,” he said. “I just don’t know what to expect.”
“To be honest, I wouldn’t be surprised if they aren’t stored in a basement somewhere and they just haven’t found them,” he said. “Hopefully nothing bad comes out of this and this is just some silly mistake.”

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