Several thousand South Carolina consumers are experiencing a major headache — all because they paid their medical bills. The Medical University of South Carolina announced that 7,000 patients’ credit card information — billing and email addresses, credit card numbers, expiration dates and authorization numbers — had been compromised.
According to MUSC, a third-party credit card processing vendor, Blackhawk Consulting Group, reported a data breach on August 22. The breach also reportedly affected two other Blackhawk clients and the personal information of 3,000 people.
The affected patients had paid bills over the phone between June 30 and Aug. 21. Some had also made online payments and credit card payments by mail. Those who paid a hospital or physician bill in person or with cash or check did not have personal information compromised, according to the MUSC website.
There was no evidence that hackers obtained any health information, birth dates or Social Security numbers, the website said, and the payment methods compromised by the intrusion have been shut down. However, ultimately it’s ultimately impossible to know with certainty whether or not any personal information was appropriated.
Affected patients will receive notification, and MUSC stated that it plans to “launch a support system that will provide free credit monitoring through a customized call center designed to walk all concerned persons through the steps they should take to further protect their personal information.” However, consumers in this situation should consider taking action immediately.
Regularly monitor your credit.
Tools like Credit.com’s free Credit Report Card can show a sudden change in credit score, and you are entitled to a free copy of your credit report from each major credit reporting agency every year. These practices will help you spot suspicious activity.
Alert your card issuer to a potential compromise.
Data breaches are constantly in the news. If an organization or company that has your personal information is compromised, extra financial vigilance is a must. Let your financial institutions know what’s going on as soon as possible.
Check your bank accounts every day.
This isn’t a habit just for victims of data breaches. None of this advice is, but it’s more important to follow during a situation like the one at MUSC. When you haven’t reviewed your bank statement in a while, it’s harder to spot — and correct — an error.