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Latest Consumer Alert

Aug. 1, 2018

How you could be affected by the UnityPoint data breach

Attorney General advises five steps to prevent identity theft

 

UnityPoint Health has notified approximately 1.4 million patients, including  960,561 Iowa residents, of an email phishing incident that may have compromised certain patient protected health or personal information.

As required by Iowa Code Chapter 715C, UnityPoint has filed information on the security breach to the Iowa Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division. The filing includes the letter sent to affected patients.

On May 31, 2018, UnityPoint Health discovered that a phishing email attack had compromised its business email system and may have resulted in unauthorized access to information including Social Security, driver’s license and bank account numbers and medical and insurance information.

UnityPoint Health will offer free credit monitoring services for one year to individuals whose Social Security number and/or driver's license number were included in the compromised email accounts.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding this incident, please call UnityPoint’s toll-free helpline at 1-888-266-9285. The help line is available Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Central Time. Information is also available at www.unitypoint.org/security-notice

The Attorney General’s office recommends five important steps to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft:  

1.  Place a "security freeze" on each of your credit reports (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) to stop fraudulent accounts from being opened by the identity thief.  A security freeze prevents potential creditors and other third parties from accessing credit reports without your approval. Most businesses will not open credit card or loan accounts without checking your credit history.  You must contact each of the credit reporting agencies individually online or by postal mail.  There is NO COST to place or lift a security freeze.  For more information, see our Guide to Security Freezes. 

You may be offered complimentary (free) credit monitoring.  Credit monitoring should not be used in lieu of a security freeze on your credit reports.  Credit monitoring is reactive because it leaves your credit report open and alerts you after your identity has been stolen.  Placing a security freeze is preventative because it locks your credit report and requires a PIN number release from you for access.  Generally, only the first twelve (12) months of credit monitoring are free and beyond that you have to pay monthly for this service. 

2.    Place a temporary (90-day) "fraud alert" on each of your credit reports by calling any one of the credit agencies listed below.  The credit agency you call will forward your request to the other two credit agencies.  To request a permanent (7-year) alert, you must be a victim of  the criminal identity theft (beyond having your information exposed in a security breach) and report the crime to your local law enforcement agency. There is no cost for this service.  To add a temporary fraud alert, contact any one of the following credit reporting agencies at:

            Equifax, P.O. Box 740256, Atlanta, GA 30374; 800-465-7166; www.equifax.com

            Experian, P.O. Box 9530, Allen, TX 75013; 888-397-3742; www.experian.com

            Trans Union, P.O. Box 2000, Chester, PA 19022; 800-680-7289; www.transunion.com

3.  Order a FREE copy of your credit reports from each credit reporting agency.  You are entitled to one free copy from each credit agency every twelve months. Monitoring your credit card statements and your credit reports are the most important steps you can take to safeguard your credit identity because you can catch errors and detect identity theft early. Equifax, Experian and TransUnion are private industry competitors who collect data independently.  Thus, all three credit reports must be reviewed to ensure the accuracy and safety of your credit information. Your free credit report does not contain your credit score because it is the work product and property of the credit agencies.  The Federal Trade Commission required the three credit reporting agencies to create a joint clearinghouse for consumer requests, so ordering your credit report is easy:  Just call, write or go online to:

            Annual Credit Report

            P.O. Box 105281

            Atlanta, GA 30348-5281

            Phone: 877-322-8228 toll-free

            www.AnnualCreditReport.com

4.  Review your monthly billing statements, annual credit reports, and insurance explanation of benefit (EOB) statements  carefully. Look for unfamiliar charges, credit card accounts or other suspicious activity, such as incorrect addresses or indications of delinquent payments.  If you find unauthorized charges or accounts, contact my Consumer Protection Division.

5.  Be wary of telemarketers who may use the information they fraudulently obtained about you to sell health insurance, Medicare supplement programs, medical equipment, prescription drugs, and miracle cures.

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For past consumer alerts, click here.

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