A recent security breach of South Carolina Medicaid recipient data once again highlights the potential risks involved whenever you give your personal information out, even to your doctor. Officials in South Carolina report that a state employee has allegedly gained access to confidential information on more than 228,000 state Medicaid recipients. The information stolen includes such personal information as names, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, and addresses.
The employee who allegedly stole the information was a former project manager for the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. Christopher Lykes Jr., has been charged with six criminal counts that, if he is convicted of all of them, could result in a prison sentence of up to 10 years. Mr. Lykes allegedly collected this information and e-mailed it to himself, as well as to someone else who has yet to be identified.
This security breach comes soon after the recent loss of Medicaid recipients’ information in Utah. The Utah breach resulted after hackers discovered a weak password used by a state employee on a server that housed medical information. Both breaches highlight the reality that there is nothing the patient can do to personally prevent such losses of personal information. Because both breaches stem from the actions taken by state employees, they are largely unavoidable by anyone seeking to protect their information. The only option for anyone who is potentially affected by it is to closely monitor their credit reports for any signs of fraudulent activity. They may also wish to consider using credit freezes to prevent any new accounts from being opened.