Security breach at Missouri Department of Health impacts tens of thousands

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Tens of thousands of people are at risk of having their data compromised after a security breach at the Missouri Health Department.

The department said it mailed out more than 10,400 letters on Wednesday to notify people of a security breach. The breach occurred before September 30, 2016.

The Health and Senior Services Department sent out a news release on Friday. According to it, the breach included names, dates of birth, and social security numbers. The agency said it has no reason to believe the information was viewed or used by anyone intending harm.

A former state information technology contractor improperly retained the information. The past contractor allowed the information to be stored in an electronic file that was not password-protected.

Department Director Randall Williams said the agency referred the matter to the “appropriate law enforcement authority.”

The State of Missouri realized the situation on August 20, 2018. It has since taken steps to secure the information. The Department has been  analyzing the data contained in the electronic file to determine the scope of the breach and to determine contact information for those affected.

Check credit reports

The Department now recommends those affected to review account statements and monitor free credit reports for unwanted activity. Contact information for consumer credit reporting agencies is below. You can place a free fraud alert on your credit or to request a free credit freeze. The Federal Trade Commission website has additional information about obtaining credit reports.

  • Equifax: 1-800-525-6285; P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241.
  • Experian: 1-888-397-3742; P.O. Box 9532, Allen, TX 75013.
  • TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289; Fraud Victim Assistance Division, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92834-6790.

Department Director Dr. Randall Williams said:

We have concerns that prior to September 30, 2016, a past contracted vendor may have acted illegally by retaining some names, dates of birth, identification numbers issued by some State agencies, and a very limited number of social security numbers. The State learned of this incident on the Thursday before Labor Day.  We immediately worked with other State agencies over the Labor Day holiday to prevent any dissemination of this data now or in the future.  Present leadership takes very seriously our requirement to protect information, and we have referred our findings to the appropriate law enforcement authority.

If you received a letter from the Department and have questions, call the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services at 1-888-252-8045, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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