Michigan dentist notifies patients of missing backup drive
On March 4, W. Christopher Bryant DDS P.C. alerted his patients to a potential data security breach that impacted 2,200 patients. On March 15, he posted this letter on his web site:
8285 S. Saginaw
Grand Blanc, Michigan 48439
Dear Patients and Friends
March 15, 2016
You are receiving this letter because of a recent incident that may have exposed your name, address, social security number and insurance information to outside agents. To give you some background information on what happened, on January 26th (2016) we were unable to locate a portable backup hard drive used to store our digital information offsite in case of fire or other disaster to our building. (This “backup system” was part of a $25,000 computer and digital overhaul we purchased last year. The entire reason for this overall was to increase the security on your information!) So after confirming that the backup could not be found we consulted with the people who put our system in…and they told us that they did not believe there was any risk. But 3 weeks later, 10 days ago, we received a call from a head of their Digital Technologies Department and he told us that in fact the information on that hard drive was at risk.
Although we have no evidence or knowledge that anyone’s information has actually been compromised, we are writing to you now so that you can take protective measures to minimize or eliminate any potential harm.
We are not experts, but after careful research this is what we have found for you to do to protect yourself. First, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recommends that you place a fraud alert on your credit file. A fraud alert lets creditors know to contact you before they open any new accounts or change your existing accounts. Contact any one of the three major credit bureaus using the information listed below; the company you contact is required to notify the other two, which will place an alert on their versions of your credit report as well.
Equifax: 800 525-6285; www.equifax.com; P.O. Box 740231, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
Experian: 888 397-3742; www.experian.com; P.O. Box 9532, Allen, TX 75013; TransUnion: 800 680-7289; www.transunion.com; Fraud Victim Assistance Division, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92834-6790
The FTC also says that after you place the fraud alert in your file, you are entitled to and should order free copies of your credit reports. Additionally you should ask the credit bureau that only the last four digits of your Social Security Number will appear on your credit reports. This is an added protection. When reviewing your credit reports, the FTC says to carefully review each one looking for accounts you did not open. Look for inquiries from creditors that you did not initiate. And look for personal information, such as home address and Social Security Number that is not accurate. If you see anything you do not understand, call the credit agency at the telephone number on the report.
If you do find suspicious activity on your credit reports, call your local police or sheriff’s office and file a police report of identity theft. Get a copy of the police report. You may need to give copies of the police report to creditors to clear up your records. You may also wish to file a complaint with the FTC at: http://www.consumer.gov/idtheft or 1877-ID-THEFT (438-4338). Your complaint will be added to the FTC’s Identity Theft Data Clearinghouse, where it will be accessible to law enforcers for their investigations.
Even if you do not find any signs of fraud on your reports, some consumer protection specialists recommend checking your credit report every three months for the next year. Just call one of the numbers listed above to order your reports and keep the fraud alert in place. For more information on identity theft, you may wish to review the resources available on the Michigan Attorney General’s Web site: http://www.michigan.gov/ag/ or call the AGO Consumer Assistance Office at: 1-800 657-3787.
If we get any further information or updates on this issue we will post them on our website. Please check the website every few weeks for the next 90 days.
I want to assure you that the security of your information is extremely important to us. Since we first discovered that information was at risk our IT providers immediately fixed the issue with the portable hard drives and we have since added even higher levels of security to protect all information. Sadly, in today’s world, this will be an ongoing battle.
Personally, I sincerely regret any inconvenience this may cause. All of you are like family to me! If you have further questions related to this incident, please contact us at 810-694-9470.
Dr. Chris Bryant
Note: Dr. Bryant’s practice is also known as Blue Chip Dental.