DHHS Commissioner Mary Mayhew released this statement regarding a recent release of confidential information affecting 31 households which recently applied for public assistance or updated their information using the web portal:
“We have learned that the personal and confidential information for 79 people residing in 31 households was inadvertently mailed to unintended recipients. In some cases, the information included Social Security numbers and, in rare instances, bank account information. The error occurred within an automated mailing system and has since been resolved.”
I sincerely apologize to those whose information was mishandled and to those who inadvertently received it. Keeping personal information secure is, and always has been, our highest priority.
DHHS staff has called those whose information was shared, as well as those who may have received the information.
We have offered identity theft insurance, free credit reports and daily monitoring of credit at no cost to those affected and we have worked with those who are interested to help them sign up for the free coverage.
In addition, we have mailed letters to those who received the information and instructed them to return it to us in a postage-paid envelope. They are legally obligated to return it and we have reminded them that identity theft is a crime.
We have been monitoring our mailings daily since the system was fixed, and the problem has been eliminated.
While DHHS sends out more than 12,000 letters each week and our accuracy rate is extremely high, we understand the need for 100 percent accuracy when it comes to maintaining confidentiality and we will continue to strive for perfection.”
July 19, 2012