Benefits and Personal Info of NC City Workers Lost

May 27, 2010 ( - Personal data from about 5,200 current and former employees and elected officials of the city of Charlotte, North Carolina, has been lost.

The Charlotte Observer reports that the data loss affects those who were receiving health coverage from the city in early 2002, and the information was contained on two DVDs kept by Towers Watson, the city’s benefits consulting firm. The DVDs contained Social Security numbers, health plan coverage numbers, and prescription information.

City spokesman Keith Richardson said the files on the DVDs were not encrypted, a violation of Towers Watson’s own policies, according to the news report. He noted that in 2002, employees’ and elected officials’ Social Security numbers were used as an identification system for health insurance, but that is no longer the case.

The two DVDs were part of a shipment sent February 2 from Towers Watson’s Charlotte office to its Atlanta site. When the shipment arrived on February 3, the consulting firm realized the DVDs were missing, and after a search it notified the City of Charlotte on February 23 of the loss, the news report said.

While there is no indication that the personal information has been used illegally by anyone, Towers Watson is offering two years of free identity theft monitoring to people affected by the loss that sign up for the service by July 31.