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Oops! Another SSN List Gets Mailed

October 2007
SACRAMENTO, CA—Pretty soon, the word “Security” will need to be removed from the phrase “Social Security number.” Another under-edited printing and mailing job has turned thousands of retirees into potential identity theft victims.

About 445,000 retirees received an informational brochure in advance of an election to fill a vacancy on the board of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS). Unfortunately, all or most of the recipients’ Social Security numbers appeared on the address panel, according to the Sacramento Bee.

CalPERS sent out a letter to retirees, explaining the breach. The letter stressed that while it was unlikely any person would recognize the sequence of numbers (which doesn’t have any hyphens) as a Social Security number, “we consider this a serious incident.”

The gaffe is being blamed on an in-house error. According to the
Bee, CalPERS staffers who obtained the computerized address files did not realize the numbers were included.
 

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