NorthStar EMS discloses thousands of patients may be affected by a security data breach
Thousands of current and former patients could have had their medical and personal information stolen after NorthStar EMS discloses a data security breach. According to a post made on its website, the ambulance service discovered the unusual activity in September of 2022. Upon the discovery, the company conducted an independent cybersecurity investigation.
As a result of the investigation, NorthStar learned that an unauthorized user accessed certain data stored on its network. The investigation determined that personal and/or protected medical information was compromised by the incident.
NorthStar said it has no evidence that any information was actually misused.
“Out of an abundance of caution NorthStar is informing affected individuals about the steps they can take to help protect their information. The potentially affected information may include individuals’ names, Social Security numbers, dates of birth, patient ID number, treatment information, Medicare/Medicaid number, and/or health insurance information.”
NorthStar is mailing letters to people who’s accounts are impacted.
The company is taking steps to help prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.
The company has established a toll-free hotline to answer any questions about the incident. It is staffed weekdays from from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at 833-753-4562.
“The privacy and protection of personal and protected health information is a top priority for NorthStar, which deeply regrets any inconvenience or concern this incident may cause,” the post stated.
NorthStar recommends taking these steps if your patient information is compromised.
What steps can I take to protect my personal information?
Notify your financial institution immediately if you detect any suspicious activity on any of your accounts, including unauthorized transactions or new accounts opened in your name that you do not recognize. You should also promptly report any fraudulent activity or any suspected incidents of identity theft to proper law enforcement authorities.
You can request a copy of your credit report, free of charge, directly from each of the three nationwide credit reporting agencies. To do so, free of charge once every 12 months, please visit www.annualcreditreport.com or call toll free at 1-877-322-8228.
You can take steps recommended by the Federal Trade Commission to protect yourself from identify theft.
Additional information on what you can do to better protect yourself is included in a notification letter.
How do I put a fraud alert on my account?
Consider placing a fraud alert on your credit report. This fraud alert statement informs creditors to possible fraudulent activity within your report and requests that your creditor contact you prior to establishing any accounts in your name. To place a fraud alert on your credit report, contact Equifax, Experian or TransUnion and follow the Fraud Victims instructions. To place a fraud alert on your credit accounts, contact your financial institution or credit provider. Contact information for the three nationwide credit reporting agencies is included in the letter.
How do I put a security freeze on my credit reports?
You also have the right to place a security freeze on your credit report. A security freeze is intended to prevent credit, loans and services from being approved in your name without your consent. To place a security freeze on your credit report, make a request to each consumer reporting agency. You may make that request by certified mail, overnight mail, or regular stamped mail, or online. You will need to provide the following information when requesting a security freeze (note that if you are making a request for your spouse, this information must be provided for him/her as well): (1) full name, with middle initial and any suffixes; (2) Social Security number; (3) date of birth; (4) address. You may also be asked to provide other personal information such as your email address, a copy of a government-issued identification card, and a copy of a recent utility bill or bank or insurance statement. It is essential that each copy be legible, display your name and current mailing address, and the date of issue. There is no charge to place, lift, or remove a freeze.
What should I do if my family member was involved in the incident and is deceased?
Notify the three major credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian and Trans Union, and request they flag the deceased credit file. This will prevent the credit file information from being used to open credit.