Tuesday January 20, 2009 Health department warns flu-shot recipients of possible identity theft

Tuesday January 20, 2009 Health department warns flu-shot recipients of possible identity theft

by Cheryl Caswell

 Daily Mail staff

 

In addition, a law that went into place in June 2007 allows West Virginia consumers to place a security freeze on the credit files. A freeze means that files cannot be shared with potential creditors without the individual’s permission. Isaacs said the department hires temporary help every year to help with the billing for the influx of people wanting flu shots. Jossiah is accused of using information those people provided, including names, addresses, social security numbers, dates of birth, marital status, employment information, insurance information and telephone numbers.

Isaacs said the incident will result in changes in the way the health department handles its billing. Isaacs said, “The billing system we use is a statewide system. They have contracts with the state. As of today, we’re no longer using social security numbers. We’re using other identifiers. “We had precautions in place,” Isaacs said. “But if somebody is intent on doing something, they will. And we will no longer use temporary help in our billing.”

A call center has been established to handle questions about the incident. It will be open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. The phone number is 304-348-0700.

 

Yet another case of a data breach resulting in the personal information of innocent people being lost. And another case of people being given the same, tired old advice of just placing a fraud alert or a freeze on their credit. If you talk to a real professional in the Identity Theft restoration business, he will inform you that id theft concerns more than your credit cards or those nubers your bank identifies you with. He will also let you know that placing fraud alerts and freezes as a blanket treatment is not the best thing and it should be looked at on a case-by-case basis, particularly with freezes as they can actually hurt you more than help you. It is time that people started getting the truth on what identity theft is really about. To find out more about identity theft, please go to http://www.prepaidlegal.com/idt/bkng62 or http://www.prepaidlegal.com/info/bking62.

 

Brenda Isaacs, president of the health board, said it is believed that only about 12 to 14 people actually did have their information stolen by a temporary employee of the health department. Those victims have been notified.

Isaacs said the department was notified last week that the victims’ social security numbers were stolen and credit cards were opened in their names.

Sgt. Sean Crosier of the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Department said Jameelah Jossiah, 24, of South Charleston, has been charged with one count of computer fraud in connection with a month-long investigation into the incident.

Investigators determined that a common thread among the victims was that all had received flu shots from or at the health department between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31, 2008. Crosier said the investigation will continue.

Those who received flu shots during that time period will receive written notification of the security breach and will be given information on how to place a fraud alert on their credit files to protect themselves from any identity theft.

A fraud alert prompts creditors to contact you prior to opening any new accounts. Those affected will be advised to call one of three credit reporting agencies, at no cost.

In addition, a law that went into place in June 2007 allows West Virginia consumers to place a security freeze on the credit files. A freeze means that files cannot be shared with potential creditors without the individual’s permission.  

Isaacs said the department hires temporary help every year to help with the billing for the influx of people wanting flu shots.

Jossiah is accused of using information those people provided, including names, addresses, social security numbers, dates of birth, marital status, employment information, insurance information and telephone numbers.

Isaacs said the incident will result in changes in the way the health department handles its billing.

Isaacs said, “The billing system we use is a statewide system. They have contracts with the state. As of today, we’re no longer using social security numbers. We’re using other identifiers.

“We had precautions in place,” Isaacs said. “But if somebody is intent on doing something, they will. And we will no longer use temporary help in our billing.”

A call center has been established to handle questions about the incident. It will be open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. The phone number is 304-348-0700.

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