About 131,000 former and current Army National Guardsmen may have had their personal information compromised when a contractor's laptop was stolen, Guard officials announced Aug 4. The laptop, taken during a conference in Atlanta on July 27, included data on soldiers enrolled in the Army National Guard Bonus and Incentives Program. Files containing soldiers' names, Social Security numbers, payment dates and bonus amounts were included on the laptop.
Randy Noller, a spokesman for the National Guard Bureau, said officials don't have any indication yet that the information has been used to open new credit cards or go after soldiers' bank accounts. "At least for now, it just looks like somebody wanted to steal a laptop," he said. "There's no evidence that anything has been compromised, but we didn't want to wait to notify our members about the possible threat."
Local police are looking into the theft, and Guard officials are investigating whether the contractor broke any rules by carrying the files on the laptop. Other details of those investigations are not being made public at this time, Noller said.
All soldiers whose information was on the laptop will receive an e-mail and a letter from the bureau explaining the theft, and state Guard officials are being provided with additional updates on the investigations. In addition, the Guard Bureau is providing information on how to check credit records and guard against identity theft at its Web site (www.ng.mil ) and has set up a toll-free call center at (877) 481-4957 to answer servicemembers' questions.