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Labor Department Contacting Customers Regarding Record of Unemployment Letters

For immediate release
June 2, 2008

WETHERSFIELD, The Connecticut Department of Labor is notifying approximately 2,100 customers that files containing copies of letters sent to them regarding their unemployment insurance claim cannot be located.

“Although the agency strongly believes that the letters were mistakenly shredded along with others that were being rightfully destroyed, we feel it is in the best interest of our customers to be proactive in our efforts to ensure that personal information is not compromised,” noted State Labor Commissioner Patricia H. Mayfield. 

The “Notice of Decision” letters, dated from May 2 to May 20, 2008, were sent to 2,160 customers who applied for unemployment insurance, but were not eligible to collect. Copies of the letters, which must be kept on file for three years, contained personal information, including name, address and Social Security number.  

“Following an extensive search, it appears the copies were inadvertently shredded and destroyed on or before May 21,” Mayfield said. “While we do not believe information on these letters will be used in a manner that will compromise the security of these residents, in addition to promptly issuing letters of notification, we have arranged for two years of free preventative services through the Debix Identity Protection Network.” 

Unlike traditional credit monitoring services that only notify individuals after credit has already been opened in their name, Debix is a preventative measure to guard against Identity Theft. Debix continuously monitors all transactions and will notify law enforcement immediately of any suspicious or fraudulent patterns. It also includes fraud alerts every 90 days to the major credit bureaus -- Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. The service will also provide up to $25,000 Identity Theft Protection upon discovery of fraud.

“We sincerely regret any inconvenience or concern that has been caused by this situation,” Mayfield said. “We want the public to be assured that the agency takes the protection of personal information very seriously and since last year, we have been working on additional security features for the state’s unemployment insurance compensation system.  Since federal law mandates that we use the entire Social Security number in the course of business, we are looking at ways to encrypt that data and still comply with regulations. We are also adopting improved information handling techniques as part of our Modernization Project,” Mayfield noted. 

Residents who receive a letter from the agency and who may have questions regarding the free protection service can contact Debix directly at 888-332-4963.

Debix, a national company located in Texas, offers support services Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Central time.

Media Contact: Nancy Steffens  (860) 263-6535

200 Folly Brook Boulevard, Wethersfield, CT 06109 / Phone: 860-263-6000

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