13,000 state employees are being offered free credit monitoring service right now after a security breach of their personal information.
The employees effected, including those working at Virginia Tech, are enrolled in the Commonwealth's 2014 Flexible Spending Account. They were sent letters saying Conexis, (Blue Cross/Blue Shield Flexible Spending Account Services) sent a report summarizing their enrollment in the plan to 11 state human resources and payroll employees in error. The reports contained the employee's name and social security number.
Department of Human Resource Management Communications Manager Anne Waring said in a statement to WSLS, "While the HR and payroll employees were authorized to receive agency and location-specific employee data, they received the entire participant list."
Julie Wheeler with the Better Business Bureau says this mistake is not as concerning as breaches where personal data is hacked or inadvertently sent to unknown people but she says it serves as a reminder that we should all monitor out credit regularly. "Everybody should check their credit report once a year a year whether you've had any issue or any concern," Wheeler said. "You can do that free of charge through annualcreditreport.com."
The Department of Human Resource Management letters to employees states some reports sent in error were returned unopened while the handful of human resources officers received the information not intended for them "signed a written certification confirming that the report and all the information contained not intended for that Human Resources employee was deleted or destroyed."
Waring says, "although this disclosure was not a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) security breach, the Commonwealth takes any disclosure of personal data very seriously. DHRM sent letters to the affected employees and Anthem/Conexis will provide free access to credit monitoring and identity theft services until June 30, 2016.