The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services today notified 469 customers that their social security numbers may have been obtained as part of a data breach that appears to have originated from overseas and is offering free credit protection for one year to these individuals. No financial information was obtained in this data breach, which is the first that has occurred during this administration.
Commissioner Putnam has ordered a comprehensive review of the department’s cybersecurity measures, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is assisting the department with its active investigation.
The social security numbers that may have been obtained had been entered in an online field where either a social security number or Federal Employer Identification Number could be entered. In 2009, the department began only to request a FEIN in this field and stopped the prior practice of requesting either a social security number or FEIN.
Additionally, names of 16,190 concealed weapon licensees, which is less than one percent of total number of concealed weapon licensees, may also have been obtained; however, no other individually identifying information of the concealed weapon licensees was compromised. Only concealed weapon licensees who renewed online may have had their names accessed. The department’s Office of Inspector General determined that there is no risk of identity theft to these licensees.
Other information possibly accessed per the data breach is all public information and poses no risk of identity theft. The breach occurred through the online payment system; although, the hackers were unsuccessful in obtaining any financial information. The department takes cybersecurity seriously and acted quickly to mitigate the effects of this breach. The privacy of the department’s customers is a top priority and will remain so.
Individuals who have concerns regarding their personal information should take the following steps:
- Obtain a free credit report at www.AnnualCreditReport.com;
- Place a fraud alert on your credit report if you believe your information has been compromised;
- Closely monitor financial information;
- Report any suspicious activity to local law enforcement; and
- Check credit reports and credit card statements periodically.
Individuals can get a free credit report once a year by contacting:
- TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289, Transunion.com;
- Equifax: 1-800-525-6285, Equifax.com; and
- Experian: 1-888-397-3742, Experian.com.
Customers who may have been affected by this data breach can call 1-800-350-1119 for more information.