Ernst & Young warned some Bay Area clients that it had lost some sensitive data, including Social Security numbers, which could be possibly be used by identity thieves.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, in a Feb. 13 letter Ernst & Young warned clients that their Social Security numbers were on a laptop stolen from an employee's locked car. The firm has declined to say how many clients might have been affected.

Earlier this month, the newspaper reported that McAfee had to warn 9,000 current and former employees that a CD containing their names and Social Security numbers had been lost after an employee at McAfee's auditor, Deloitte & Touche, left the unencrypted CD in the seat-back pocket of an airplane while traveling in December.

A spokesman for the firm did release a statement saying that the laptop was password protected, though the files were not encrypted, and that the theft appeared to have been random. There is no indication that the lost information in either case has been used for fraud, according to Ernst & Young and anti-virus software manufacturer McAfee Inc. Both companies have offered the affected people free credit monitoring and other services to help them watch out for such fraud.

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