State mailing error exposes personal data of thousands

2013-07-01T13:48:00Z State mailing error exposes personal data of thousandsBy Dan Carden dan.carden@nwi.com, (317) 637-9078 nwitimes.com

INDIANAPOLIS | The personal information of thousands of state assistance recipients -- including addresses, birth dates, Social Security numbers and financial data -- may have erroneously been mailed to other state assistance recipients earlier this year.

The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration announced Monday that up to 187,533 Hoosiers could be affected by the mailing mistake, including 3,926 whose Social Security numbers possibly were disclosed.

FSSA officials said a contractor, RCR Technology Corp. of Indianapolis, made a computer programming error that duplicated documents belonging to some clients and included them in mailings sent to others.

"We do not believe this was a widespread disclosure of information and have only been made aware of a handful of instances where information was received by the wrong person," said FSSA Secretary Debra Minott. "Still, we are taking the most complete and prudent approach to notifying all potentially impacted clients."

The programming error was made April 6 and affected FSSA correspondence sent through May 21. Minott said not every letter generated during that period included another client's documents, only that the potential exists -- for which she apologized.

"Clients entrust their information to us and we take the security of that information very seriously," Minott said. "We are ultimately responsible for the safekeeping of that information and regret that in this rare instance some information may have been accidentally shared inappropriately."

She said letters are being sent to all potentially affected FSSA clients with advice on how to place a free security freeze on their credit reports.

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