WDH: Fraud reports stem from data breach
WYOMING – The Wyoming Department of Health has issued a warning to residents about fraudulent calls from people falsely claiming to represent WDH, the first significant development relating to the recent health information breach at the department.
A WDH employee recently made a mistaken exposure of laboratory test results involving more than 164,000 Wyoming residents and hundreds from Colorado. According to WDH, the incident involved COVID-19 and influenza test result data and breath alcohol test result files mistakenly getting uploaded by an employee to private and public online storage locations on servers belonging to GitHub.com.
Office of Privacy, Security and Contracts administrator with WDH Jeri Hendricks said the department is hearing reports of Wyoming residents receiving fraudulent calls from people claiming to represent the department in connection with the data breach.
“The callers falsely claim to represent us, say they are calling about the breach and then ask the individuals they’ve reached for insurance, Medicare, Medicaid or other financial information,” Hendricks said. “In some instances, it seems they have been able to make it appear as if the calls are coming from state government phone numbers.”
Hendricks added: “No one representing the department will ask you for insurance, Medicare, Medicaid or personal financial information. No one representing the department will call you about the breach unless they are returning a call you made to us first.”
WDH and Hendricks reiterated that affected files did not contain Social Security numbers, banking, financial, health insurance, Medicaid or Medicare information. The breach did, however, include patients’ name or identification, address, date of birth, test results and dates of service.
The department has established an information line specifically for questions regarding the recent breach. The phone line of 1-833-847-5916 is available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
WDH said in a release that it advised Wyoming residents who received COVID-19 or influenza tests anywhere in the United States between January 2020 and March 9, 2021, but who do not receive a written notice within the next two weeks to call the information line to learn if their information was involved. Anyone who received a breath alcohol test performed by law enforcement in Wyoming between April 19, 2012, and January 27, 2021, who does not receive a letter from WDH should also call the help line.
WDH is offering a free year of IdentityForce protection to people affected by the breach. That is a service that provides advanced credit and dark web monitoring, along with identity theft insurance and medical identity theft coverage.