NC DHHS: Thousands of names, social security numbers released in security breech

- The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services notified the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of a recent data breech that could affect thousands of people. 

NC DHHS says a spreadsheet containing personal information was sent in error to a vendor in an unencrypted email nearly two months ago. 

The spreadsheet includes names, social security numbers and test results for about 6,000 people who underwent routine drug screenings for employment, intern and volunteer opportunities at NC DHHS.

NC DHHS says it has contacted the affected individuals to notify them of the incident. To protect against fraud, affected individuals can put an alert on their credit files and monitor bank statements and credit card bills for unusual or unauthorized activity.

The department learned of the breach on Sep. 27 and immediately launched an investigation into the incident. They coordinated with the vendor to whom the email was sent to ensure deletion and secure destruction of the personal information in the spreadsheet. 

While NC DHHS cannot determine for certain that the email was not intercepted during transmission, they've determined that the risk of misuse of the personal information is low.

The department is now reviewing proper procedures with employees and is continuing to review its internal processes to ensure the correct handling of data.

People who may have been affected by the incident can call 1-800-662-7030 with questions.

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