Fidelity Laptop with Retirement Plan Client Info Stolen

March 23, 2006 ( - Fidelity Investments has reported that a laptop computer containing personal information on 196,000 Hewlett-Packard Co. retirement plan participants has been stolen.

Reuters reports that a Fidelity spokeswoman said the laptop contained name and address information, but personal identification numbers were not on the computer.   A software application that would allow someone to read the personal data has expired, making it very difficult to access the information, she said.

Fidelity said it has not noticed any unusual movement in the affected participants’ accounts, according to Reuters. The company has promised to reimburse participants if they lost any money due to the theft.   The spokeswoman said the company has flagged all of the accounts and added increased security measures for anyone to gain access to them.

Fidelity is working with police and the computer maker to find out who stole the laptop and to alert everyone whose personal information was stolen.

Other companies have previously reported missing items containing sensitive information.   In January, Ameriprise Financial Inc. said a company laptop containing names and account identification information on 158,000 clients had been stolen from an employee’s car, and in December a US mortgage firm owned by Dutch bank ABN Amro Bank NV said it had retrieved a computer tape, lost during delivery, with data including the names, account information and Social Security numbers of 2 million customers.

Also in December, Marriott Vacation Club International (MVCI) notified authorities that backup computer tapes containing data on about 206,000 employees, timeshare owners, and timeshare customers were missing from the corporate office in Orlando, Florida (See Latest Report of MIA Employee Personal Data from Marriott Subsidiary).   Items containing personal information on employees have also been reported missing by Boeing Co. (See Boeing Employee Data Stolen) and Time Warner.