JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - An enormous amount of personal information, including Social Security numbers, was stolen from the Florida Department of Children and Families by someone who had clearance to access that information, according to the Department of Justice.
Many of those affected are children.
Dawn Brown couldn't believe the contents of a letter she received in the mail informing her that her 12-year-old daughter, Bailey, could be among those whose information was taken.
"I'm very, very disturbed about the situation. It's not good for Bailey to have to worry about this for the rest of her life," said Brown.
Brown worries it wasn't just her daughter's information that was stolen.
"It's not just her Social Security number. It's all of our Social Security numbers. They have our address. They have everything," said Brown.
According to the letter, the breach targeted the ACCESS database, which stores information of families applying to receive public benefits.
Investigators said the employee who is accused of stealing the information, Cora Eutsay, worked for CareerSource South Florida, an agency funded by the Department of Economic Opportunity.
According to the Department of Justice, Eutsay stole the personal information of hundreds of families and then sold it to third parties.
“Identity theft and public-benefits fraud have reached crisis levels. This fraud harms those whose identities are stolen, robs the social safety net of resources meant for hardworking Floridians, imposes significant costs on taxpayers, and undermines public trust. Our goal at DEO is to set a national standard in preventing, detecting, and helping to prosecute this fraud. We are making great strides within the Reemployment Assistance program, and in the last year our new fraud detection measures uncovered and halted 97,000 fraudulent claims, worth more than $400 million," DEO Executive Director Jesse Panuccio said.
The letter offers potential victims one year of identity protection with LifeLock at no charge but Brown fears the damage has already been done.
"A 12-month protection through LifeLock and that's great, but 12 months isn't going to do anything for Bailey," said Brown.
Eutsay, along with several other defendants, are facing charges that include, trafficking in and using unauthorized access devices to obtain anything of value.