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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Blood donor ID data stolen

By David Waite
Advertiser Staff Writer


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The Blood Bank of Hawaii has sent letters to nearly 40,000 blood donors and deferred donors, telling them that a laptop computer containing confidential personal information was stolen in a burglary last month at the agency's Dillingham Boulevard headquarters.

In an April 16 letter to potential donors, chief operating officer Wendy Abe said the data includes names, birth dates, partial Social Security numbers and "minimal donation information."

The letter advises those who receive it to check their financial and credit card records "for any unauthorized charges or actions" and to consider registering with the Federal Trade Commission to participate in a free annual credit monitoring service.

Randall Kusaka, communications assistant for the Blood Bank, said that so far no one whose personal information was stored in the stolen laptop has reported any irregularities with their bank accounts or credit cards.

"We urge anyone who notices a discrepancy to report it immediately to the police," Kusaka said.

He said the laptop contained information on 39,780 donors and "deferred donors," including people who can never donate blood because of medical conditions; those who are temporarily prohibited from donating because of new tattoos or travel to certain locales with malaria activity; or those who recently gave blood and haven't waited long enough to give again.

The laptop, stolen March 29, requires two separate passwords to access the personal information.

"We're required by federal law to make sure every donor is eligible to give blood," Kusaka said, explaining why certain information was stored on a computer.

Using the last four digits of a Social Security number was one of the most effective ways of keeping track of donors, but because of the break-in, that information will no longer be kept on laptops, Kusaka said.

In addition, additional security guards have been hired and guards will now work overnight shifts to help prevent burglaries.