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Wed, Aug 09, 2006

Aero-News Alert: Florida Pilots At Risk For ID Theft

Repeat After Me -- AOPA IS Watching Out For You...

Phil Boyer was kind enough to send ANN advance notice about a breaking news story that could affect the financial health of a number of our aviation brethren... especially down here in Florida.

AOPA has put out an alert to Florida pilots to be on the watch for identity theft.

Yup... Identity Theft.

That's because a government laptop computer that includes the names, addresses, and social security numbers of some 42,800 pilots living in Florida was recently stolen. That personal information could be used without your permission to commit fraud or other crimes. You could be hit with huge credit card bills or damage to your credit rating.

To protect yourself, you may want to contact any one of the three credit reporting companies to place a fraud alert on your credit report. You should also be wary of any phone calls or e-mails from someone claiming to be an FAA or other government official asking for personal information.

You can find more information on protecting yourself from identity theft on the Federal Trade Commission's ID Theft Web site (www.consumer.gov/idtheft/).

The stolen laptop belonged to a special agent with the Department of Transportation's Office of the Inspector General investigating the use of fraudulent information to obtain pilot certificates or commercial drivers' licenses.

The password-protected databases in the laptop include personally identifiable information including individuals' names, addresses, dates of birth, social security numbers, and pilot certificate numbers. Even if your pilot certificate number is NOT your social security number, your social security number is still in the database.

The laptop was stolen July 27 from a government vehicle in Doral, Florida. The Department of Transportation thinks the thief was after the computer, not the data. DOT will be sending affected parties official notice of the theft soon.

FMI: www.aopa.org, www.oig.dot.gov

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