How do you make a data breach even worse? You notify the victims that they are dead.

The headline says it all:

Some Treasure Valley residents receiving letters from Saint Alphonsus saying they are dead

The situation started routinely enough — an employee’s email account was compromised.  In this case, the access was used to send out spam.

Somehow, however, in the process of sending breach notifications, there was a mail merge error. As Saint Alphonsus explained:

We have learned that some of our patients have received a letter notifying them of an email security event and unfortunately, when the letters were generated, a mail merge issue created an incorrect status for some patients, addressing them as deceased or a minor.

So first an employee’s email account gets compromised and then their vendor has a screw-up. It was not a great month for the hospital, it seems.

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