The New York Fire Department has alerted more than 10,000 patients that their personal data — including Social Security numbers and health information — could be compromised because a staffer misplaced a portable hard drive that contained the data.
The FDNY mailed notifications to 10,253 people who were treated by or transported somewhere via the department's emergency medical team between 2011 and 2018.
Department officials said an employee who is authorized to access patient information reported the hard drive missing from an FDNY facility March 4. Department officials said they immediately launched a months-only investigation to see if patient information was on the hard drive and which specific patients were on it.
The investigation found that the hard drive didn't have an extra layer of security on it, which might have made it easier for an unauthorized person to see the data, FDNY said.
The FDNY said there's no evidence an unauthorized person has accessed personal information, but they have notified patients anyway. About 3,000 patients whose Social Security numbers were on the hard drive are being offered free credit monitoring service, the FDNY said.
Anyone with questions about the breach can call 1-877-213-1732 between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m.