Southcentral Foundation Takes Measures to Protect Customer-Owner Information from Cyber Security Attack
As part of Southcentral Foundation’s (SCF) commitment to customer-owner privacy, SCF provided notice of a privacy and security issue regarding certain patients’ protected health information on Dec. 16, 2016.
What Happened? On Oct. 18, 2016 SCF became aware that some employee email accounts might be accessible to persons outside the organization as a result of a cyber security attack.
What Action Was Taken by SCF? SCF immediately began to investigate the circumstances around the cyber security attack, in order to determine what happened and who may have been impacted. SCF engaged external computer forensic experts to assist with its investigation. The investigation determined that two SCF employee email accounts were subject to unauthorized access. One email account was vulnerable from Oct. 17-18, 2016. The other email account was vulnerable from Oct. 14-18, 2016. As soon as SCF became aware the accounts were vulnerable, it disabled them to stop any further access.
What Information Was Involved? SCF reviewed the information in the email accounts and determined the accounts included, among other information, the protected health information of some SCF customer-owners. The information in the email accounts may include a combination of the following types of information for impacted customer-owners:
What is SCF Doing? SCF is working diligently to protect the privacy of its customer-owners and continues to investigate this incident.
SCF has sent notice to all individuals whose protected health information may be at risk as a result of this incident. As an added precaution, SCF is offering all potentially impacted individuals access to credit monitoring and identity theft protection services with AllClear ID.
What Can You Do? Please review the Steps You Can Take To Protect Against Identity Theft and Fraud, which provides the contact information of the major credit reporting agencies and government resources where you can obtain more information about fraud alerts and credit freezes. In addition, those who are impacted can also enroll to receive the free credit monitoring and identity restoration services through AllClear ID.
The SCF Board of Directors, leadership, and staff take the privacy and security of customer-owners’ protected health information seriously and sincerely regret any inconvenience this situation may cause. SCF is taking appropriate action in an effort to prevent an incident like this from reoccurring. If you have any questions or concerns, you may contact SCF’s dedicated hotline at 1-855-220-9457, 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. Alaska Standard Time, Monday through Saturday (excluding U.S. holidays) or email SCF’s Corporate Compliance Department at firstname.lastname@example.org.
STEPS YOU CAN TAKE TO PROTECT AGAINST IDENTITY THEFT AND FRAUD
While SCF continues to investigate, customer-owners may take direct action to further protect against possible identity theft or financial loss.
SCF encourages customer-owners to remain vigilant against incidents of identity theft and financial loss by reviewing account statements, explanation of benefits forms, and monitoring credit reports for suspicious activity. Under U.S. law, everyone is entitled to one free credit report annually from each of the three major credit bureaus. To order a free credit report, visit www.annualcreditreport.com or call, toll-free, 1-877-322-8228. Individuals may also contact the three major credit bureaus directly to request a free copy of their credit report:
At no charge, customer-owners can also have these credit bureaus place a “fraud alert” on their credit file. A “fraud alert” will tell creditors to take additional steps to verify a customer-owner’s identity prior to granting credit in the customer-owner’s name; however, because it tells creditors to follow certain procedures to protect the customer-owner, it may also delay the customer-owner’s ability to obtain credit while the credit bureaus verify the customer-owner’s identity. As soon as one credit bureau confirms the fraud alert, the others are notified to place fraud alerts on the customer-owner’s files. Customer-owners may use the contact information listed above to contact the major credit bureaus and place a “fraud alert” on their credit report.
Customer-owners can also place a “security freeze” on their credit file to prohibit a credit reporting agency from releasing any information from their credit report without their written authorization, but it may delay, interfere with, or prevent the timely approval of any requests for new credit. If a customer-owner has been a victim of identity theft and provides the credit reporting agency with a valid police report, the credit reporting agency cannot charge to place, lift, or remove a security freeze. In all other cases, a credit agency may charge a fee to place, temporarily lift, or permanently remove a security freeze. Customer-owners must contact each of the credit reporting agencies separately to place a security freeze on their credit file:
Customer-owners can further educate themselves regarding identity theft, fraud alerts, security freezes, and the steps they can take to protect themselves by contacting the state attorney general or the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC also encourages those who discover that their information has been misused to file a complaint with them. The FTC can be reached at: 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20580; www.ftc.gov/idtheft; 1-877-ID-THEFT (1-877-438-4338); and TTY: 1-866-653-4261.
Instances of known or suspected identity theft should be reported to law enforcement, the state attorney general, and the FTC. Customer-owners have the right to file a police report if they experience identity theft or fraud. Please note that in order to file a crime report or incident report with law enforcement for identity theft, customer-owners will likely need to provide some kind of proof that they have been a victim of identity theft. Maryland residents may contact the MD Attorney General’s Office, General Consumer Protection Division, at 1-888-743-0023, www.oag.state.md.us, or 200 St. Paul Place, Baltimore, MD 21202. North Carolina residents may contact the NC Attorney General’s Office, Consumer Protection Division, at 1-877-566-7226, www.ncdoj.com, or 9001 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699.
This notice was not delayed as a result of a law enforcement notification.