Identity Theft

62,000 Hospital Employees Exposed to Identity Theft

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A February data breach of a University of Pittsburgh Medical Center database was first said to affect only 20 employees. Then news broke that nearly 800 employees had been victims of tax return fraud, stemming from the attack. UPMC later confirmed the information of 27,000 employees had been compromised.

Now they’re saying every employee — 62,000 of them — may have been affected. Hackers accessed UPMC’s payroll system, potentially stealing names, Social Security numbers, addresses, salary information and bank account information, according to a report in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. The hospital network is the state’s largest private employer.

The Struggle With Data Security

There’s only so much people can do to protect their personal information, because so many other companies store it. Employer data breaches are a perfect example of this frustrating reality: You hand over some of your most sensitive information when you start a job, but you have no control over how it is protected.

In the UPMC case, attorney Benjamin Sweet filed a suit in early May against the medical center, according to a report in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Sweet and his firm Carlson Lynch and another firm Kraemer, Manes & Associates are seeking class-action status to represent all victims of the data breach and recoup losses stemming from the attack and the associated identity theft.

As has become customary after data breaches, UPMC has offered credit monitoring to the victims of the breach. The report in the Tribune-Review says the hospital is working with LifeLock to extend the coverage from one to five years.

Even with a helpful tool like fraud detection, consumers must take it upon themselves to watch for signs of identity theft, and that goes for people who haven’t been part of a massive breach (that they know of). You should check your bank statements daily, if possible, and get your free credit report every year. Checking your credit scores will also help you spot potential fraud, because a sudden score change could indicate suspicious activity. You can get two of your credit scores for free through Credit.com.

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