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Businesses not included in free identity protection from summer data theft

This summer the state provided hundreds of thousands of Ohioans with free identity theft protection after a computer backup tape containing their personal information was stolen. Some of the information on the tape included businesses' information. But businesses are not covered.

Names of businesses and their Federal Identification Number or FIN were on the stolen tape, as well as some banking account information. Ron Sylvester is director of communication with the Ohio Department of Administrative Services. He said in the unlikely event a business's FIN is recovered from the stolen device the number can not be used to get credit.

"That number is readily available in many public documents and can not be used to steal an identity in the same way an individual's full name and social security number can be used to establish credit," Sylvester said.

Sylvester said businesses can take steps with their banks to monitor the account for free without needing additional fraud protection.

"It was our belief, it is our belief, that businesses by their very nature have a higher level of sophistication in dealing with these financial issues, and it's simply a matter of resources at the end of the day," Sylvester said.

Sylvester added due to the tape's design it would be almost impossible for the information to be retrieved from it. The stolen back-up computer device contained more than 700,000 individuals and businesses information.