Medical records stolen from skincare company

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Reported by: Sharon Phillips
Updated: 1/30/2012 2:51 pm Published: 1/26/2012 4:54 pm

A burglary in south Tulsa has detectives on high alert.

The personal information of more than 400 people is now in the hands of crooks.

It happened at Preferred Skin Solutions near 55th and Lewis, and now officers are concerned about identity theft.

The owners believe the thieves broke in sometime between Tuesday night and Wednesday, and they believe a key may have been used to get in.

When manager Katie Mkalech got into work, she knew something wasn’t right.

"I went into where the desk is and we have a roll-top desk where we lock our computer in it, and I noticed that it was broken and it was open half way,” says Mkalech.

The thieves got away with a laptop holding client’s medical records and a CD player.  However, no financial records were taken.

"We've always made a point that we don't store anything like that on our laptop, and what we do is take their information one time and then we shred their information,” she says.

"Each time they come in they have to do it all over again and some people may think it's a pain to do that, but this is obviously a good reason to do it,” says Mkalech.

The first thing she did was to notify her client’s about what had happened.

"We did go on our facebook page and let everybody know on there that it happened, and we went through our email and sent out an email security to let them know what happened,” she says.

Although financial records were not on the laptop, detectives say identity theft is rampant.

“Anytime anybody's information is compromised or taken, we really don't know how that could be used, and it could be used in a negative manner,” says Detective Mark MacKenzie.

He says there are several things you can do to protect yourself from identity theft.

It’s important to check your credit score once a year, and to monitor your bank accounts online.  Also, take important mail like bills and things with your signature to the post office, rather than mailing it from your home.  Finally, keep your mailbox cleaned out and look out for your neighbors.

Despite having been broken into, it’s still business as usual at Preferred Skin Solutions, and the owners say they are taking more security precautions than ever to keep their clients safe.

The FTC says nearly 9 million Americans have their identity stolen each year.  People who experience identity theft, may lose out on job opportunities, or be denied a loan because of negative credit report information.  In rare cases, you can be arrested for a crime you did not commit.

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