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UPMC Data Breach Twice as Big as Originally Reported

June 2, 2014
by Rajiv Leventhal
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A February breach of employees' personal data at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) has affected more than twice as many people as originally thought, according to an updated report in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

In April, it was reported that the personal information of 27,000 of its employees might have been put at risk by identity thieves, with nearly 800 workers falling victim to a fraudulent tax return scheme. In late February, UPMC learned that some of its employees were targeted by a fraudulent tax return scheme. It was determined that the source of information used to commit this crime was obtained through unauthorized access that allowed some personal employee information to be exposed, according to the healthcare organization.

But on May 30, the health system—which is the largest non-governmental employer in Pennsylvania, with more than 62,000 employees— is acknowledging that all of its employees are now at risk of identity theft. In an emailed statement to employees obtained by the Tribune-Review, UPMC officials said that no other data breaches beyond the initial one, which was limited to a payroll system and did not affect patient data.

“Recent developments in the ongoing investigation suggest that the scope may be larger than originally thought, potentially affecting every employee,” according to the email. “The information stolen several months ago may include names, Social Security numbers, addresses, salary information, and even bank account information.”

Since first indication, UPMC says it has been working with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Secret Service, and information technology sources to determine the cause and scope of the breach, to prevent any further unauthorized access, and to track down the perpetrators of the serious crime. The breach has also already led a UPMC employee to file a lawsuit in state court seeking class action status and 25 years of credit and bank monitoring, credit restoration services and identity theft insurance.

UPMC is offering LifeLock fraud detection services to all employees for free, the email stated, and is working with LifeLock to extend coverage for five years. UPMC has also asked workers to contact their banks about the theft.

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