MASSENA - Enbridge Services officials in Massena are warning customers to monitor their credit reports and bank accounts after a computer backup tape containing customer Social Security numbers, dates of birth and financial institution account numbers was stolen from an employees vehicle.
Rental Program Manager Gregory LaPointe said in a letter sent to Enbridge customers that a computer backup tape containing customer records was stolen from an employees vehicle Thursday. Customers began receiving the letter on Tuesday.
According to local police officials, this theft was part of several vehicle break-ins that occurred in the early morning hours of Aug. 16, 2012, Mr. LaPointe wrote.
While we have no evidence that this data has been or will be misused, we are notifying you out of caution so that you have the information necessary to help detect and prevent any misuse of your personal information, he told customers.
St. Lawrence Gas Assistant General Manager James P. Ward said Tuesday that the stolen information applied only to Enbridge, the portion of the business that rents equipment to customers.
Its customers from Enbridge Services, our unregulated business that rents furnaces and hot water heaters. Its not related to St. Lawrence Gas, he said. Somebody broke into the vehicle and took this backup data. It was not targeted directly toward our company. It was part of a rash of vehicle thefts.
He said about 1,400 customers from around the area currently use rental services from Enbridge Services.
In his letter to customers, Mr. LaPointe asked them to be vigilant in monitoring your credit reports and bank accounts for any sign of unauthorized activity.
He also suggested customers immediately place a Fraud Alert on their credit files and consider placing a Security Freeze on your credit reports.
The letter tells how Fraud Alerts and Security Freezes work and gives instructions to customers on how to place them on their accounts.
Even if you do not find signs of fraud, we recommend that you remain vigilant in reviewing your credit reports from the three major credit reporting agencies, Mr. LaPointe suggested, noting customers could receive a free copy of their credit report once every 12 months by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com or calling 877-322-8228.
Mr. Ward said the letter was sent to all affected customers to advise them just to keep an eye on it to make sure nothing happens.
He said that whoever took the data will likely have a difficult time if they attempt to use it.
Its in a format that doesnt allow the average person to be able to use it. Youd need to have some specific knowledge of the system they use and you would need specific hardware. Its not something that is easily accessible, he said.
Mr. Ward said many companies store back-up data off-site in case of emergencies.
Its something most companies do. You have to take the date off-site so, for example, if a building burns you dont lose information. The policy was that the employee would take it home and keep it secure in their home, he said.
After the theft, however, there may be changed in the policy, he said.
They are reviewing their policies about off-site storage, Mr. Ward said.
Any Enbridge customer who has questions about the notice or their account can call 800-673-0358 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday until Sept. 5. After then, they can call between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.