By Selwyn Harris
Nye County Comptroller Susan Paprocki is warning county employees to be on alert for any suspicious activities pertaining to their personal credit and finances.
Last month, Paprocki informed county employees about an apparent breach of personal information of various individuals on the county payroll.
In a letter to county staff dated Feb. 12, Paprocki said she informed local authorities on the matter.
“The Nye County District Attorney’s Office was informed that portions of a Nye County payroll report, including the names and social security numbers of various individuals were discovered at various off-site locations near the Tonopah Administration building. The circumstances surrounding the distribution of the documents suggest that the dispersal was accidental and not part of a targeted attempt to gain the personal information of any particular group or individual,” the letter stated.
What is striking about the letter is the fact that the information breach took place last year.
On Monday, Pahrump Town Manager Bill Kohbarger said he has serious issues about why it took so long for the county to notify the individuals whose information was compromised.
He also said that it appears that some town employees’ personal information was also included.
“It happened in June of last year or prior to that and we are just now getting notified nine months later. I got the letter on Friday and I was upset. Why did it take nine months? I know things happen. Issues happen, but telling us nine months after the fact that our information is out there floating around and somebody could have it? That’s not right because I have personally had my information stolen twice in the last seven months and nobody seems to know why and now I may know why,” he said.
Kohbarger said he sent an email to County Manager Pam Webster but has yet to get a response.
Attempts to reach Paprocki by telephone on Tuesday were unsuccessful.
Nye County District 4 Commissioner Butch Borasky, meanwhile, said the matter is presently under investigation.
“I found out that there was a total of three pages that got loose and it was quite some time ago. They were found in the desert and they don’t know how they got there. They scoured the desert all over the place looking for more. They don’t know how it got out there. The reason that it has been so long is that it has been under investigation by both the sheriff’s department and the district attorney’s office,” he said.
Though the comptroller’s letter was titled Notice of Compromise of Personal Information, Borasky said he was told that no information was compromised.
“When I asked, they said no personal information was compromised, so I can’t answer that,” the commissioner said.
Borasky also said that the county has certain protocols in place for the disposal of sensitive and personal information.
“That’s our policy now. We actually have a shredding company that comes in monthly and actually shreds boxes of documents that may have personal information that should not get out to anybody. Normally with confidential information, we are required to put it in the shredding box. If it is just recycled paper, we put it in another container, and if is just trash we just put in the trash can,” he said.
Town of Pahrump Executive Assistant Samantha Carns, unlike Kohbarger, said she has not seen any type of suspicious activity on her credit report.
“To my knowledge my information personally was not compromised. When I heard about it, obviously, it’s scary because they have all of our information. A number of us have talked about and to my knowledge, no one at least in the office has had their information compromised that they know of. From what the letter stated, it sounds like it happened quite a while ago and we were just recently notified and that was even scarier,” she said.
Paprocki’s letter to county employees and town staff advised them to look into placing a fraud alert on their credit files.
A fraud alert instructs creditors to make contact before any new accounts are opened or changing existing accounts.
“Even if you do not find any suspicious activity on your initial credit reports, the Federal Trade Commission FTC recommends that you check your credit reports periodically. Victim information sometimes is held for use or shared among a group of thieves at different times. Checking your credit reports periodically can help you spot problems and address them quickly,” her letter stated.
The comptroller’s letter went on to suggest that if someone were to find evidence of suspicious activity they should contact the Nye County Sheriff’s Office and file a police report.