State leaks 4,457 SSNs
by Rachel Miller and Joshua Sharpe
September 07, 2013 02:15 AM | 3786 views | 4 4 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA — The Georgia Department of Labor emailed confidential information about more than 4,400 residents of Cobb and Cherokee counties to an estimated 1,000 recipients Thursday in what officials are calling an accident.

An employee of the state agency emailed the names and Social Security numbers of 4,457 customers from the GDOL’s Cobb-Cherokee Career Center at 465 Big Shanty Road, Marietta, said GDOL spokesman John Ard on Friday.

Most of the victims are believed to have been clients of the state who were receiving unemployment or other benefits.

The compromising email went out “because of an employee error,” Ard said. The employee has been suspended pending an investigation.

The “accidental communication” was identified within 10 minutes, and all recipients were asked to delete the communication and the attached document, according to Sam Hall, communications director of the Georgia Department of Labor.

“It is important to note that this inadvertent disclosure, while unfortunate, is not a systemic issue, nor the consequence of an external breach of our data security measures,” Hall said.

The Department of Labor will offer free credit monitoring services to each customer whose information was leaked. Hall said GDOL will be contacting each victim by email and by postal mail.

Equifax, headquartered in Atlanta, will assist the residents who are now at risk for identity theft.

Michele Cacdac-Jones, a spokeswoman for Equifax, said compromised personal information can be used to open credit cards under a victim’s name.

“If you are offered free identity protection services after a breach, use them,” Cacdac-Jones said.

A list of tips by Equifax advises customers to check credit reports for incorrect names and addresses that might appear to be clerical errors, but could be thieves opening new lines of credit with that information.

“Identity thieves may not use your personal information right away — sometimes they can take up to a year or more,” Cacdac-Jones said.

That means months of vulnerability for the victims, who will have to check and recheck their credit.

Comments-icon Post a Comment
September 09, 2013
Help need a lawyer to file a class action suit against incompetent state employees let me guess the state has some illegal law saying they aren’t responsible. Just wait until Obama care kick in even more info will be leaked!!
Rick Z
September 08, 2013
Was there a particular type of recipient that these "accidental communications" were sent to?
September 07, 2013
It is hard enough to receive Unemployment and to keep our benefits--Now we have to worry about security with our personal information.
September 07, 2013
This is not and isolated incident. My son's entire appeal package was mailed to another claimant. She called him to give it back to him but could have just used his personal information for fraud and no one would have known.
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