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|News Release: April 4, 2008||View Printable PDF Version|
FERC reports loss of former employee personal information
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) today reported the loss of a binder containing the Personally Identifiable Information of 2,810 former employees, including Commissioners, who had left government service between October 1983 and August 2007.
The likelihood is low that the information, in a three-ring binder located in an office in the Human Resources Division of FERC's Office of the Executive Director, was exposed. The binder contained copies of packing slips for all boxes of official personnel files for FERC employees who had left government service during that time. The boxes of files were shipped to the National Archives and Records Center in St. Louis, Mo. Copies of the packing slips included names and Social Security numbers of the former employees.
Periodically, Human Resources staff prepare and ship former employees' official personnel files to the National Archives and Records Center. The binder was last used on Feb. 20, 2008. On March 3, 2008, the binder was reported missing and was presumed to be lost during an office move.
During that move, Human Resources employees were cleaning out and disposing of old files and materials from the locked office. A complete search of all personal and common work areas by Human Resources officials did not recover the binder. An official investigation by FERC's Information Technology Security Division determined there was a high probability that the binder was discarded in the trash, resulting in a low probability that the information was compromised.
"We are confident there was no theft involved, and the likelihood of this information being exposed is low," Executive Director Tom Herlihy said. "But FERC wants to be cautious and has taken all possible steps to fully protect and inform our former employees. We deeply regret this situation. The FERC takes its obligation to public service very seriously and considers this incident an unfortunate breach of our commitment to protect the confidentiality of employees' personnel records."
Herlihy has sent letters to all affected former FERC employees notifying them of the situation and offering assistance to protect their identities and credit information.
FERC has contracted with Equifax to provide, at no cost to the former employees, assistance that includes call center support, credit monitoring and fraud alerts as well as identity theft insurance of up to $20,000. Equifax also will assist the Commission in locating all former employees who cannot be reached at their last known addresses of record.
FERC is an independent federal agency that regulates the interstate transmission of electricity, natural gas and oil. FERC also reviews proposals to build liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals and interstate natural gas pipelines, and licenses hydropower projects.
More information is available on the FERC website, www.ferc.gov.
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