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Are Your Insurance Records for Sale Online?

Is your personal insurance information for sale online?
For some, the answer is yes.
Last month, Krebs on Security, a cybersecurity blog, discovered that a black market, online bazaar is selling the complete insurance records of customers of a Texas-based life insurance company.  The records include customers’ full name, medical history, address, phone and driver license numbers, Social Security number, date of birth, bank name, routing number and checking/savings account number.  Purchasers can pay as little as $6.40 per customer record.  The insurance company is already working with the FBI and Secret Service to resolve the situation.
This discovery should send a strong warning to (1) consumers and (2) anyone who stores electronic insurance records.
Consumers: It is not just your credit card information that thieves want.  If they have all of your personal identifiable information (“PII”), then they can open lines of credit in your name.  This is what the thieves who have purchased the above-mentioned life insurance records have been doing.  If someone has stolen your PII, contact us to discuss potential resolutions.  Even if you are not aware of your PII being stolen, you should consider monitoring your credit through a credit check company.  This may allow you to determine whether anyone has successfully or has attempted to open a line of credit in your name. 
Companies with Electronic Insurance Records: If you are a company that retains electronic insurance records, such as a hospital, school or a doctor’s or dentist’s office, then you need to make sure that these records are secure.  These records are a valuable commodity to hackers.  You may be subject to both federal penalties and civil liability if a hacker steals these records from you.  To prevent from this happening, you should consider consulting a cybersecurity expert to assess the security of your computer systems and network.
As more records are converted to digital files, there is no doubt that there will be more illegal attempts to acquire these records.  Whether it is insurance records or medical records, the PII contained in these files is very valuable to thieves.  Persons giving up their PII and companies storing digital records containing PII should take precautionary measures.
If you have questions about storing digital records with PII or about emerging technology issues in general, contact a member of our Emerging Technologies Practice Group.
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