November 26, 2019 - The Municipality of Anchorage (“MOA”) is providing notice of an event that may have impacted the privacy of personal and protected health information for a small number of individuals. While MOA is unaware of any attempted or actual misuse of this information, we are providing potentially affected individuals with additional details about the incident and our response.
On September 30, 2019, we learned that an unknown individual broke into our Public Health Clinic and stole two computer terminals in addition to vandalizing the office area of the clinic. We immediately began an investigation to determine the nature and scope of the incident. We also reported this incident to law enforcement.
The investigation determined that certain MOA employee email messages and attachments were stored on the stolen machines. Although the computers were password-protected, their contents were not encrypted. While the investigation was unable to determine if any sensitive information stored on the stolen computers was actually viewed by the unknown actor, that activity could not be ruled out.
With the assistance of third party experts, we reviewed the contents of the email accounts that may have been accessible to the unknown actor. On November 13, 2019, we determined that information for certain patients and employees of the Public Health Clinic may have been stored on the stolen computers.
The stolen computers contained the following types of information for a small number of individuals: name and Social Security number, credit card number, driver’s license number, medical diagnosis, procedure and treatment information, medical provider, medical record number or patient number, medical insurance group number and medical insurance member number. At this time, we are unaware of any actual or attempted misuse of any personal or protected health information relating to this incident.
We are committed to protecting sensitive information in our care, and we are working to review existing policies and procedures and to implement additional safeguards to further secure the information in our systems. We took several steps in response to this incident to better protect all data entrusted to us. We initiated security camera enhancements, exterior lighting improvements, use of encryption software and review of electronic medical record storage protocols to prevent a similar incident from occurring again. We are also notifying regulatory authorities, as required.
Individuals seeking additional information regarding this event can call our assistance line at 907-343-4809 or 907-343-4109 Monday through Friday, during the hours of
8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Alaska Time. You may also write to 825 L Street, Anchorage, AK, 99501.
While we are unaware of any misuse of the personal information stored on the stolen computers, we encourage you to remain vigilant against incidents of identity theft and fraud, to review your account statements, and to monitor your credit reports for suspicious activity. Under U.S. law you are entitled to one free credit report annually from each of the three major credit reporting bureaus. To order your free credit report, visit www.annualcreditreport.com or call, toll-free, 1-877-322-8228. You may also contact the three major credit bureaus directly to request a free copy of your credit report.
You have the right to place a “security freeze” on your credit report, which will prohibit a consumer reporting agency from releasing information in your credit report without your express authorization. The security freeze is designed to prevent credit, loans, and services from being approved in your name without your consent. However, you should be aware that using a security freeze to take control over who gets access to the personal and financial information in your credit report may delay, interfere with, or prohibit the timely approval of any subsequent request or application you make regarding a new loan, credit, mortgage, or any other account involving the extension of credit. Pursuant to federal law, you cannot be charged to place or lift a security freeze on your credit report. Should you wish to place a security freeze, please contact the major consumer reporting agencies listed below:
In order to request a security freeze, you will need to provide the following information:
- Your full name (including middle initial as well as Jr., Sr., II, III, etc.);
- Social Security number;
- Date of birth;
- If you have moved in the past five (5) years, provide the addresses where you have lived over the prior five years;
- Proof of current address, such as a current utility bill or telephone bill;
- A legible photocopy of a government-issued identification card (state driver's license or ID card, military identification, etc.);
- If you are a victim of identity theft, include a copy of either the police report, investigative report, or complaint to a law enforcement agency concerning identity theft.
As an alternative to a security freeze, you have the right to place an initial or extended “fraud alert" on your file at no cost. An initial fraud alert is a 1-year alert that is placed on a consumer's credit file. Upon seeing a fraud alert display on a consumer's credit file, a business is required to take steps to verify the consumer's identity before extending new credit. If you are a victim of identity theft, you are entitled to an extended fraud alert, which is a fraud alert lasting seven years. Should you wish to place a fraud alert, please contact any one of the agencies listed below:
You can further educate yourself regarding identity theft, fraud alerts, security freezes, and the steps you can take to protect yourself, by contacting the consumer reporting agencies, the Federal Trade Commission, or your state Attorney General.
The Federal Trade Commission can be reached at: 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20580, www.identitytheft.gov
, 1-877-ID-THEFT (1-877-438-4338); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. The Federal Trade Commission also encourages those who discover that their information has been misused to file a complaint with them. You can obtain further information on how to file such a complaint by way of the contact information listed above. You have the right to file a police report if you ever experience identity theft or fraud. Please note that in order to file a report with law enforcement for identity theft, you will likely need to provide some proof that you have been a victim. Instances of known or suspected identity theft should also be reported to law enforcement. This notice has not been delayed by law enforcement.