Nearly 58,000 people impacted by Florida unemployment assistance data breach

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity said Friday that nearly 58,000 claimants were affected by a data breach.

The DEO said it learned of the breach on Friday, July 16 and that the accounts “may have been access by an unauthorized party” between April 27, 2021 and July 16, 2021.

RELATED: Florida withdraws from Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program

Social Security Numbers, driver’s license numbers and bank account numbers may have been accessed. Those who were impacted by the breach have been notified and the DEO said it has “purchased a year’s subscription of identity protection services for affected claimants.”

READ: Jacksonville hospitals see COVID-19 case surge; DeSantis calls increase in Florida cases ‘seasonal’

Here is the following statement the DEO sent to affected claimants:

“On July 16, 2021, the Department learned of a data security incident involving potentially fraudulent activity connected to claimant accounts within the Reemployment Assistance Claims and Benefits Information System, commonly known as CONNECT.

“Information contained in the claimant account may have been accessed, including the following: social security number, driver’s license number, bank account numbers, claim information, and other personal details, such as address, phone number, and date of birth. In addition, the malicious actors may have acquired the account PIN that claimants use to access their CONNECT account.

“The Department discovered that malicious actors were targeting claimant accounts via the CONNECT public claimant portal. A total of 57,920 claimant accounts were targeted. These targeted accounts may have been accessed by an unauthorized party. This activity may have occurred between April 27, 2021, and July 16, 2021. There is no evidence of any other unauthorized access and no indication of related malicious activity on the Department’s internal networks.

“In response, the Department has:

  • Locked accounts targeted by this activity;
  • Improved PIN security controls;
  • Enhanced network security controls;
  • Notified impacted claimants;
  • Notified the Department of Legal Affairs, Department of Management Services, including the Division of State Technology, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement;
  • Reported impacted accounts to the three U.S. credit reporting agencies; and
  • Purchased a year’s subscription of identity protection services for affected claimants.

“The Department is recommending that the impacted claimants monitor their financial accounts, and if they see any unauthorized activity, they should promptly contact their financial institution. Claimants may contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) by calling 1-877-ID-THEFT (1-877-438-4338) or online at www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/. The Department is also recommending claimants to contact the three U.S. credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) to obtain a free credit report from each by calling 1-877-322-8228 or by logging onto www.annualcreditreport.com.

“While states continue to battle significant attacks on unemployment systems across the nation, the prevention of fraud remains a top priority for the Department. Florida is a leader in identifying and preventing unemployment fraud, and we will continue to take necessary precautions to protect Floridians.”

READ: Looking for a COVID vaccine? “Wellness on Wheels” offers free shots in Jacksonville communities