The Early Learning Coalition of Palm Beach County posted the following announcement on their web site yesterday:
The Early Learning Coalition of Palm Beach County has learned of a breach in the security of the electronic database that manages the personal information of individuals applying for or receiving services from the coalition. This breach occurred at the Belle Glade office of Family Central, Inc., the non-profit agency that administers early learning programs through a contract with the coalition.
The security breach compromised the personal information of individuals whose data is contained in the system, including parents and children residing in Palm Beach County who have received school readiness services or participated in the Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program.
The breach occurred when an employee accessed the database in an unauthorized manner in order to obtain the personal information, including social security numbers, of individuals contained in the database. The employee is no longer employed by Family Central. The incident continues to be investigated by state and federal officials. At this point law enforcement officers estimate that up to approximately 100 individuals may have had their personal information compromised in this incident.
Individuals whose information was known to be accessed by the employee will be notified via mail of the breach. Because the complete scope of the breach has not been determined at this time, this public notice is made to all.
Family Central has implemented additional security measures including expanded security training for all employees, further restricting access to the information system and revising data security policies.
While the incident is being investigated, individuals who notice improper use of their social security number and believe they may be the victim of identity theft should contact the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov/idtheft or call 1-877-ID-THEFT (438-4338). Affected persons may also call the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office and file a police report of identity theft, keeping a copy of the police report.
Individuals who have received services from the coalition and Family Central, Inc., may wish to review their credit history for any potential fraudulent or suspicious activities they have not authorized. To protect themselves from the possibility of identity theft, they may also place a free fraud alert on their credit files. A fraud alert notifies creditors to contact individuals before opening new accounts in their name. Individuals can call any one of the three major credit reporting agencies at the numbers below to place a fraud alert on their credit files and may obtain a free credit report at www.annualcreditreport.com.
Experian – 1-888-397-3742
Equifax – 1-888-766-0008
TransUnion – 1-800-680-7289
For more information, affected persons may call Family Central at 1-800-518-3991.
The Palm Beach Post first reported the story.
Update: Chuck Weber of CBS reports:
Spokeswoman Tara Laxer told CBS 12, the number of people whose information is known to be compromised is now at 177. But there could be more victims.
The employee, who no longer works for Family Central, had access to more than 230,000 identities through a statewide information system. 110,000 of those records had valid Social Security numbers, according to the organizations.