Recently, Capital Region Medical Center (“CRMC”) confirmed that the sensitive information of certain employees and patients was compromised as a result of a data security incident.
If you received a data breach notification, it is essential you understand what is at risk. The data breach lawyers at Console & Associates, P.C. are actively investigating the Capital Region Medical Center data breach on behalf of people whose information was exposed. As a part of this investigation, we are providing free consultations to anyone affected by the breach who is interested in learning more about the risks of identity theft, what they can do to protect themselves, and what their legal options may be to obtain compensation from Capital Region Medical Center.
Last year, 1,862 data breaches affected more than 189 million people. On average, victims of identity theft spend 200 hours and over $1,300 recovering their identity. Many victims also suffer emotional distress, credit damage, and may even end up with a criminal record. Taking immediate action is the best way to prevent the worst consequences of a data breach.
What We Know So Far About the Capital Region Medical Center Data Breach
According to an official filing by the company, on December 17, 2021, CRMC experienced a network disruption. The company began an investigation into the incident, concluding that an unauthorized party was able to access certain files containing personal and protected health information belonging to some patients and employees. The company provided public notice of the incident on December 23, 2021.
Upon learning of the extent of the security breach, Capital Region Medical Center then reviewed the affected files to determine what information was compromised. While the compromised information varies based on the individual, it may include your first and last name, Social Security number, financial account information, date of birth, full mailing address, medical information, health insurance information, and driver’s license number.
Around March 25, 2022, Capital Region Medical Center began sending out data breach notification letters to all individuals whose information was compromised as a result of the recent data security incident.
Capital Region Medical Center is a medical center created by the merger of Memorial Community Hospital and Still Regional Medical Center in 1994. Capital Region Medical Center formed an affiliation with the University of Missouri Health System in 1997. Today, CRMC is a 100-bed facility offering a wide range of healthcare services to its patients, including cancer care, gastroenterology, cardiac care, diabetic care, imaging services, inpatient rehabilitation programs, orthopedics, pediatrics and pain management. The company is based in Jefferson City, Missouri and employs approximately 2,900 people.
More About the Causes and Risks of Data Breaches
Often, data breaches are the result of a hacker gaining unauthorized access to a company’s computer systems with the intention of obtaining sensitive consumer information. While no one can know the reason why a hacker targeted CRMC, it is common for hackers and other criminals to identify those companies believed to have weak data security systems or vulnerabilities in their networks.
Once a cybercriminal gains access to a computer network, they can then access and remove any data stored on the compromised servers. While in most cases a company experiencing a data breach can identify which files were accessible, there may be no way for the company to tell which files the hacker actually accessed or whether they removed any data.
While the fact that your information was compromised in a data breach does not necessarily mean it will be used for criminal purposes, being the victim of a data breach puts your sensitive data in the hands of an unauthorized person. As a result, you are at an increased risk of identity theft and other frauds, and criminal use of your information is a possibility that should not be ignored.
Given this reality, individuals who receive a Capital Region Medical Center data breach notification should take the situation seriously and remain vigilant in checking for any signs of unauthorized activity. Businesses like CRMC are responsible for protecting the consumer data in their possession. If evidence emerges that CRMC failed to adequately protect your sensitive information, you may be eligible for financial compensation through a data breach lawsuit.
What Are Consumers’ Remedies in the Wake of the CRMC Data Breach?
When individuals trusted CRMC with their information, they assumed that the company would take their privacy concerns seriously. And it goes without saying that patients or employees would think twice before giving an organization access to their information if they knew it wasn’t going to be secure. Thus, data breaches such as this one raise questions about the adequacy of a company’s data security system.
When a business, government entity, non-profit organization, school, or any other organization accepts and stores patient data, it also accepts a legal obligation to ensure this information remains private. The United States data breach laws allow individuals to pursue civil data breach claims against organizations that fail to protect their information.
Of course, given the recency of the Capital Region Medical Center data breach, the investigation into the incident is still in its early stages. And, as of right now, there is not yet any evidence suggesting CRMC is legally responsible for the breach. However, that could change as additional information about the breach and its causes is revealed.
If you have questions about your ability to bring a data breach class action lawsuit against Capital Region Medical Center, reach out to a data breach attorney as soon as possible.
What Should You Do if You Receive a Capital Region Medical Center Data Breach Notification?
If Capital Region Medical Center sends you a data breach notification letter, you are among those whose information was compromised in the recent breach. While this isn’t a time to panic, the situation warrants your attention. Below are a few important steps you can take to protect yourself from identity theft and other fraudulent activity:
Identify What Information Was Compromised: The first thing to do after learning of a data breach is to carefully review the data breach letter sent. The letter will tell you what information of yours was accessible to the unauthorized party. Be sure to make a copy of the letter and keep it for your records. If you have trouble understanding the letter or what steps you can take to protect yourself, a data breach lawyer can help.
Limit Future Access to Your Accounts: Once you determine what information of yours was affected by the breach, the safest play is to assume that the hacker orchestrating the attack stole your data. While this may not be the case, it’s better to be safe than sorry. To prevent future access to your accounts, you should change all passwords and security questions for any online account. This includes online banking accounts, credit card accounts, online shopping accounts, and any other account containing your personal information. You should also consider changing your social media account passwords and setting up multi-factor authentication where it is available.
Protect Your Credit and Your Financial Accounts: After a data breach, companies often provide affected parties with free credit monitoring services. Signing up for the free credit monitoring offers some significant protections and doesn’t impact any of your rights to pursue a data breach lawsuit against the company if it turns out they were legally responsible for the breach. You should contact a credit bureau to request a copy of your credit report—even if you do not notice any signs of fraud or unauthorized activity. Adding a fraud alert to your account will provide you with additional protection.
Consider Implementing a Credit Freeze: A credit freeze prevents anyone from accessing your credit report. Credit freezes are free and stay in effect until you remove them. Once a credit freeze is in place, you can temporarily lift the freeze if you need to apply for any type of credit. While placing a credit freeze on your accounts may seem like overkill, given the risks involved, it’s justified. According to the Identity Theft Resource Center (“ITRC”), placing a credit freeze on your account is the “single most effective way to prevent a new credit/financial account from being opened.” However, just 3% of data breach victims place a freeze on their accounts.
Regularly Monitor Your Credit Report and Financial Accounts: Protecting yourself in the wake of a data breach requires an ongoing effort on your part. You should regularly check your credit report and all financial account statements, looking for any signs of unauthorized activity or fraud. You should also call your banks and credit card companies to report the fact that your information was compromised in a data breach.
Below is a copy of the initial data breach letter issued by Capital Region Medical Center:
The purpose of this letter is to inform you about an incident that may have exposed your personal information to unauthorized persons.
On Friday, December 17, 2021, Capital Region Medical Center (CRMC) experienced a disruption to our network systems. Immediately upon discovering the disruption, CRMC promptly disabled our network as a security measure, initiated an investigation into the incident, and a third-party cybersecurity firm was engaged to assist. Law enforcement was also notified, and on December 23, 2021, notice of the incident was provided to the public. The investigation concluded that an unauthorized third party gained access to files containing personal and health information.
WHAT INFORMATION WAS INVOLVED
While there is no indication that your electronic medical health record was accessed, CRMC has determined that personal and health information relating to CRMC employees was contained in files accessible to the unauthorized third party. Such information including first and last name, date of birth, full mailing address, medical information, health insurance information, Social Security numbers, and driver’s license numbers may have been accessed.
WHAT WE ARE DOING
While there is no evidence of any instances of fraud or identity theft as a result of this incident, out of an abundance of caution, CRMC is notifying you to provide additional information and resources to help protect your information. Because your Social Security number or driver’s license number was involved, CRMC is offering you one year of credit monitoring at no cost. We also recommend that you review any statements that you receive from your health care provider or health insurer. If you see any medical services that you did not receive, please call the provider or insurer immediately.
CRMC takes the privacy and confidentiality of the information it maintains seriously, and deeply regrets that this incident occurred. CRMC continues to evaluate its security practices, and will continue to identify opportunities to implement additional cybersecurity measures.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Activate your complimentary credit monitoring – To help protect you from fraud or identity theft, we are offering a one-year membership to Experian’s® IdentityWorksSM at no cost. This product helps detect possible misuse of your personal information. To register, please:
Ensure that you enroll by: June 11, 2022 (Your code will not work after this date.)
Visit the Experian IdentityWorks website to enroll: www.experianidworks.com/3bcredit
Provide your activation code:
If you have questions or want an alternative to enrolling in Experian IdentityWorks online, please contact Experian at 877-288-8057 by June 11, 2022 and provide them engagement number B029089.
Remain vigilant – We encourage you to remain vigilant for fraud or identity theft by reviewing your account statements and free credit reports. You can access those reports by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com or calling 1-877-322-8228. If the report is incorrect, you should contact the appropriate consumer reporting agency—Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion.
Review your health statements – Review the statements you receive from your healthcare provider and health insurer. If you see any medical services that you did not receive, please call the provider or insurer immediately.
Consider placing a fraud alert or security freeze on your credit file – Consumer reporting agencies have tools you can use to protect your credit, including fraud alerts and security freezes.
Report suspicious activity – If you believe you are the victim of fraud or identity theft, file a police report and get a copy of the report to submit to your creditors and others who may require proof of a crime to clear up your records.
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FOR MORE INFORMATION
Protecting the privacy of your personal information is important to us, and we regret any inconvenience this incident may cause you. Please know that we are doing everything that we can to assist and guide you through this process. Should you have any questions or concerns, please contact us by calling our dedicated toll-free helpline at 855-618-3184, and one of our representatives will be happy to assist you. Thank you for your understanding and patience.