CASPER, Wyo. — The Wyoming Department of Health said on Friday there have been reports of fraud attempts in relation to the department’s COVID-19 related data breach which affected 164,000 Wyoming residents and hundreds from Colorado.
“The callers falsely claim to represent us, say they are calling about the breach and then ask the individuals they’ve reached for insurance, Medicare, Medicaid or other financial information,” WDH Office of Privacy, Security and Contracts Administrator Jeri Hendricks said. “In some instances, it seems they have been able to make it appear as if the calls are coming from state government phone numbers.”
The WDH earlier this month announced that they had mistakenly exposed laboratory test result data for over 164,000 Wyoming residents and others, including hundreds from Colorado.
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“The incident involved COVID-19 and influenza test result data and breath alcohol test result files mistakenly uploaded by an employee to private and public online storage locations on servers belonging to GitHub.com,” the WDH said.
While scammers are reportedly attempting to impersonate health officials in regard to the data breach, the WDH said that real health officials with the department will not ask people for insurance or personal financial information.
“No one representing the department will ask you for insurance, Medicare, Medicaid or personal financial information,” Hendricks said. “No one representing the department will call you about the breach unless they are returning a call you made to us first.”
The information breach “did NOT contain social security numbers, or banking, financial, health insurance, Medicare or Medicaid information but did include name or patient id, address, date of birth, test results and dates of service,” the WDH said.
“A special WDH information line dedicated to the breach has been established at 1(833) 847-5916,” the WDH said. “The phone line is available Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.”
“WDH has advised Wyoming residents who received COVID-19 or influenza tests anywhere in the United States between January 2020 and March 9, 2021 but who do not receive a written notice within the next two weeks to call the information line to learn if their information was involved. In addition, anyone who received a breath alcohol test performed by law enforcement in Wyoming between April 19, 2012 and January 27, 2021 who doesn’t receive a letter should also call.”
“A year of free IdentityForce protection has been offered by WDH to people affected by the breach. IdentityForce provides advanced credit and dark web monitoring, along with identity theft insurance and medical identity theft coverage. Affected individuals can call the WDH information line at 1(833) 847-5916 for an IdentityForce verification code to allow online enrollment for the service.”