The personal information of some 100,000 members of the New Mexico Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA) is at risk after a thief broke into a truck belonging to an employee working for the company hired to perform PERA’s annual audit and stole a laptop containing the sensitive data.
The company responsible for the laptop was a consulting and certified public accounting firm, Atkinson and Company LLP. According to the police report obtained by the Santa Fe New Mexican, a company employee, Robert Peixotto, left the laptop in his truck in a Clovis, N.M., Comfort Inn and Suites parking lot. The police report indicates that the vehicle was broken into from the passenger side and that the items stolen included two laptops, one of which belonged to Atkinson and Company, as well as an iPod.
Threatpost reached out to Atkinson and Company LLP to ask them if they encrypt the laptops on which they store client data, but a spokesperson refused to comment and promptly hung up the phone.
The stolen computer is thought to contain names, addresses, bank routing numbers, account types, account numbers, payment amounts and PERA identification numbers.
Calls to the New Mexico Attorney General and PERA were not returned by the time of publication.
The police report later notes that Peixotto reached out to a local pawn shop where stolen goods are often recovered. The pawn shop contacted Peixotto on Friday and informed him that someone brought in a laptop case belonging to him that day. When Peixotto went to the pawn shop he confirmed that laptop case was his but that he had never seen the laptop stored within (which the police later learned was also stolen).
PERA has been actively reaching out to all of its members. In a statement, PERA says it has no reason to believe that the laptop was stolen because of the information it contains, but they are still encouraging that all former and current members place fraud alerts on their credit files.
“We expect our vendors to take proper precautions, and leaving a computer in a locked car in a parking lot is not what we expect,” PERA’s executive director, Wayne Probst told The New Mexican. “That’s unacceptable. We are seeing what the consequences are. We are going through an incredible amount of expenses reacting to this.”