Atrium Health, which operates 44 hospitals in North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia suffered a data breach between September 22 and September 29, 2018 which has just been discovered. The data breach resulted in significant amount of personal information of 2.65 million patients being stolen. This data breach places these people in serious jeopardy of identity theft including medical identity theft which can result in an identity thief accessing your health insurance, which in turn can cause your medical records to be corrupted with medical information of the identity thief. The tainting of your medical records is particular serious because it brings with it the possibility of your receiving a blood transfusion of the wrong blood type or a medication to which you may be allergic.

This particular data breach is of interest even to those of us who are not patients of Atrium Health because it is another instance where the data breach was accomplished through the initial hacking of a third party in an effort to gain access to the real intended target. In this case, the hackers first hacked a vendor used by AccuDoc, a billing services used by Atrium Health and then through AccuDoc got to Atrium Health. It should be remembered that the major data breach at Target in 2013 which seemed to launch the era of the major data breach was accomplished through initially hacking into the company that provided heating and air conditioning services to Target stores.

TIPS

Those people who may have been affected by the Atrium Health data may be eligible for free credit monitoring and other identity theft protection services. For more information, go to www.krollfraudsolutions.com/accudocincident/ or call 833-228-5726.

It is important to remember that no identity theft protection company can prevent you from becoming a victim of identity theft.  The best they can do is notify you earlier that you have become a victim.    None of the identity theft protection companies help you with the one best step you can take to protect yourself from identity theft which is to put a credit freeze on your credit reports.  With a credit freeze on your credit reports at each of the three major credit reporting agencies, Equifax, TransUnion and Experian, even if someone has your personal information including your Social Security number, they cannot access your credit report for purposes of gaining credit or loans in your name.  You can find information about how to put a credit freeze on your credit reports at each of the three major credit reporting agencies by going to the Search for Scams tab at the top of the first page of Scamicide and putting in the words “credit freeze.” Everyone should have a credit freeze at each of the three major credit reporting agencies. You also should regularly monitor all of your credit card and other financial accounts for any indications of identity theft.

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