Data Breach Alert: The Puerto Rican Organization to Motivate, Enlighten, and Serve Addicts, Inc. | Console and Associates, P.C. | #itsecurity | #infosec


Recently, The Puerto Rican Organization to Motivate, Enlighten, and Serve Addicts, Inc. (“PROMESA”) which falls under the larger umbrella of the Acacia Network, announced a data breach stemming from unauthorized access to employee email accounts.

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 Acacia Network 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 Acacia Network. 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 Acacia Network Data Breach

According to a notice posted on the organization’s website, on July 17, 2020, Acacia determined that an unauthorized party gained access to certain employee email accounts between the dates of June 6, 2020 and June 12, 2020. In response, the organization conducted an investigation into the incident to learn what information may have been accessible through the affected email accounts.

While the compromised information varies by consumer, it may include your name, Social Security number, driver’s license number, address, date of birth, financial account number, medical record number or resident, identification number, health insurance information, Medicare number, provider name, treatment, prescription, and diagnostic information.

Acacia notes that not all programs were affected. However, information pertaining to clients of the following programs may have been accessible to the unauthorized party:

  • Bronx Accountable Healthcare Network;

  • Bronx Addiction Services Integrated Concepts System, Inc.;

  • Community Association of Progressive Dominicans;

  • El Regreso, Inc.;

  • Greenhope Services for Women, Inc.;

  • La Casa De Salud, Inc.;

  • Promesa, Inc.; and

  • United Bronx Parents, Inc.

On February 22, 2022, Acacia Network began sending out data breach notification letters to all individuals whose information was compromised as a result of the recent data security incident.

Acacia Network is a New York City-based human services organization that provides services to more than 150,000 people each year. Acacia Network has more than 100 affiliates, 2,700 employees, and generates more than $327 million in annual revenue. The company offers housing services, healthcare services, education services and workforce development services. Under the Acacia Network umbrella are a multitude of smaller organizations that focus on providing services locally to specific groups of individuals.

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 PROMESA, 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 an Acacia Network data breach notification should take the situation seriously and remain vigilant in checking for any signs of unauthorized activity. Businesses like PROMESA are responsible for protecting the consumer data in their possession. If evidence emerges that PROMESA 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 PROMESA Data Breach?

When customers decided to do business with PROMESA, they assumed that the company would take their privacy concerns seriously. And it goes without saying that consumers would think twice before giving a company 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 consumer data, it also accepts a legal obligation to ensure this information remains private. The United States data breach laws allow consumers to pursue civil data breach claims against organizations that fail to protect their information.

Of course, given the recency of the Acacia Network 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 PROMESA 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 Acacia Network, reach out to a data breach attorney as soon as possible.

What Should You Do if You Receive an Acacia Network Data Breach Notification?

If Acacia Network 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:

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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 Acacia Network:

Dear [Consumer],

Acacia Network, Inc. (“Acacia”) understands the importance of protecting the information belonging to the clients of our various programs. Regrettably, this notice involves some of that information.

On July 17, 2020, Acacia determined that an unauthorized person gained access to certain employee email accounts for a limited time between June 6, 2020 and June 12, 2020. We immediately began an internal investigation, and a computer forensic firm was hired to assist. The investigation was unable to determine whether the unauthorized person actually viewed any emails or attachments in the accounts. Out of an abundance of caution, we reviewed the emails and attachments in the accounts to identify clients whose information may have been accessible to the unauthorized person. The review determined that for some Acacia program clients, the accounts contained their name and one or more of the following: Social Security number, driver’s license number, address, date of birth, financial account number, medical record number or resident identification number, health insurance information, Medicare number, provider name, treatment, prescription, and/or diagnostic information.

Please note: this incident did not impact all Acacia programs or all of their clients. Information found in the accounts belonged to only a small percentage of clients of the following Acacia programs: Bronx Accountable Healthcare Network; Bronx Addiction Services Integrated Concepts System, Inc.; Community Association of Progressive Dominicans; El Regreso, Inc.; Greenhope Services for Women, Inc.; La Casa De Salud, Inc.; Promesa, Inc.; and United Bronx Parents, Inc.

Acacia has no indication that any client information was actually viewed by the unauthorized person, or that it has been misused. However, out of an abundance of caution, Acacia began mailing letters to affected clients on February 22, 2022, and has established a dedicated call center for clients to call with questions. If any clients have questions about this incident, please call (855) 568-2157, Monday through Friday, between 9:00 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. Eastern Time, excluding major U.S. holidays.

Acacia recommends that its clients review any statements that they receive from their healthcare providers and health insurers. If clients see any services they did not receive, please contact the provider or insurer immediately. For eligible clients whose Social Security number or driver’s license number was found in the email accounts, Acacia is offering complimentary credit monitoring and identity protection. Information about enrollment will be included in the notification letters sent to those individuals.

Acacia deeply regrets any inconvenience or concern this incident may cause. Acacia continually evaluates and modifies its practices to enhance the security and privacy of clients’ information. To help prevent something like this from happening in the future, Acacia is reinforcing employee training on privacy and security and is instituting additional security measures.



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