A thief recently walked into a University of California, Berkeley office and swiped a computer laptop containing personal information about nearly 100,000 alumni, graduate students and past applicants, highlighting society's vulnerability to identity theft.
University officials waited until Monday to announce the March 11 crime, hoping that police would be able to catch the thief and reclaim the computer. When that didn't happen, the school publicized the theft to comply with a state law requiring consumers be notified whenever their Social Security numbers or other sensitive information has been breached.
UC Berkeley plans to advise the 98,369 people affected by the laptop theft to check their credit reports, spokeswoman Maria Felde said.
The university has set up a hotline, 1-800-372-5110, and a Web site, http://newscenter. berkeley.edu/security/grad/ to answer questions about the laptop theft.