Saint Louis University (SLU) is in the process of reporting a health data breach that affected 3,000 patients and occurred in early August. According to KSDK.com, a few SLU employees gave out their account information by mistake as part of a phishing scam email they received.
The phishing culprits ended up gaining unauthorized access to about 20 SLU email accounts that held protected health information (PHI) of about 3,000 people and about 200 Social Security numbers as well. SLU’s EHR system was not accessed through the scam and according to the spokesman, employees’ financial information was the main target of the scam. And while no unauthorized financial transactions occurred, 10 employees changed their direct deposit information.
SLU is offering one year of free continuous credit monitoring and identity theft protection and restoration to affected students. PHIPrivacy.net was able to dig up SLU’s patient notice:
On August 8, 2013, the University discovered that some SLU employees provided their account information in response to a sophisticated phishing email scam they received on July 25, 2013.
After learning of the incident, the University immediately launched a full-scale investigation. Employees who were targeted by the email scam were notified, and their accounts were secured. While about 10 employees had direct deposit information changed, no unauthorized financial transactions occurred.
It appears that the main target of this scam was the direct deposit information of these employees. However, as the scope of the investigation expanded, the University learned that the incident also resulted in unauthorized access to about 20 SLU email accounts that contained personal health information for approximately 3,000 individuals. This was mostly limited to diagnosis, procedure and medical chart information. The investigation also found that the email accounts contained the names and Social Security numbers of about 200 people. At this time, there is no evidence to suggest that the unknown party accessed any of the personal information in the emails.
The University is notifying all individuals whose information was in the email accounts affected by the incident. SLU has also notified law enforcement officials and has engaged the services of a global leader in risk mitigation and response.
While there is no evidence to suggest that the unknown party accessed any of the information in the emails, out of an abundance of caution, SLU is providing individuals with information affected by the incident with one year of free continuous credit monitoring and identity theft protection and restoration. Instructions for signing up for these free services are enclosed in the notification letters.