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About 60 Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools employees have been warned to be on guard against identity theft after files containing their personal data were stolen from a human resource employee s car.

The personnel files, which contained names, addresses, Social Security numbers, dates of birth and driver s license numbers, were stolen Nov. 28, when the HR employee stopped for lunch, CMS spokeswoman Tahira Stalberte said. She said a CMS investigation determined that the employee, who was driving from one district office to another, did nothing wrong.

Affected employees, who work in the transportation department, got a letter notifying them on Dec. 3, Stalberte said. The Observer got a copy from a concerned employee over the weekend.

CMS is providing one year of free Equifax credit reports to the employees whose data was stolen, at a total cost of about $6,000, Stalberte said. The letter from Kelly Gwaltney, recently named chief human resources officer, urges the employees to be vigilant.

We encourage you to visit the Federal Trade Commission website at www.ftc.gov ... to obtain more information on privacy guidelines and to monitor your account statements and credit reports to ensure that your personal information is not misused, the letter says. We take our obligation to protect employee information seriously, and deeply regret any inconvenience or concern that this incident may cause you.

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