Hundreds of people’s health information breached in Manitowoc County

July 10, 2018

Manitowoc County, WI detectives say they’re investigating an email “phishing” attack that may have disclosed hundreds of people’s personal health information for months.

The breach happened in January, the same month Target 2 told you about an IRS warning on this kind of email scam.

The phishing attack allowed a third party to route Manitowoc County’s private emails to a different email account, one not monitored by the county. The county found out three months later, and says it has not found any evidence of misuse.

“Part of what we’ve been able to do is look at the data that was there, and with what we know currently it does not appear that those emails were used or forwarded in any type of malicious manner,” said Lt. Jason Jost, Detective Bureau, Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Office.

County attorneys say 438 people were told they may have been affected.

Detective Jost says during the phishing attack, protected health information was disclosed, including names, addresses, emails, and phone numbers as well as health insurance information, prescriptions, and diagnosis information.

Jost does not think Social Security numbers or bank accounts were compromised.

“It is good news that Social Security numbers weren’t compromised—that’s really the key to the kingdom for financial identity theft—but I don’t want to give people a false sense of security that ‘Oh, this information, it’s really harmless and thieves can’t do anything with it.’ That’s not the case,” said Eva Velasquez, president and CEO of The Identity Theft Resource Center.

Velasquez says information thieves can use insurance and prescription information to get medical goods under your name.

Scammers have also gotten fancy with their emails.

“They’re too sophisticated. Now we tell people to go to the source. If you get an unsolicited email, something you’re not expecting or with a vendor or an individual you don’t know, you really need to go back to the source, was I expecting that? Is that normal for our processes and procedures?” said Velasquez.

Jost says this is an ongoing investigation. The county has legal and forensics experts helping. Detectives still don’t know if the attack came from overseas and are not sure how long this investigation will take.

WBAY has the full story

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