If you’ve ever had an overdue bill at a Quest Diagnostics office, it’s time to be more vigilant about your financial records. Yep: there’s been yet another data breach.
This particular breach, of a collections agency that works with Quest Diagnostics, may have revealed 11.9 million patients’ medical and financial information.
In a statement yesterday, Quest explained that the American Medical Collection Agency (AMCA), a collections firm used by Quest, provided notice of the confirmed breach on May 31. Exposed information does not include lab test results, but may include financial records, Social Security numbers, and medical information.
Quest is participating in an investigation with the collections firm and has stopped sending accounts to AMCA for collections. AMCA has shut down its web payments and has a third-party vendor to facilitate payments in the meantime, according to Bloomberg.
It’s too early to tell if your records have been compromised, as Quest’s statement said it hasn’t yet received such information from AMCA to be able to verify it.
What to do until we know more
Whether you think your records may have been impacted or the sheer mention of a data breach makes you nervous, it’s a good time to check your records with the three credit bureaus.
Experian, TransUnion and Equifax all allow you to freeze and unfreeze your credit for free, so it would behoove you to go ahead and set up a freeze even if you haven’t set foot near a Quest office in your entire life. Freezing your credit doesn’t cut you off from the wide world of financial services completely, but rather puts you in better control of your credit accounts.Freezing your credit prevents lenders from checking your credit, which in turn would make it more difficult for someone to use your personal information to open a new line of credit in your name.
But doing so doesn’t stop someone from abusing the financial accounts you already have, as that information could still be exposed through a breach or even if someone swiped your wallet (which at this point in history feels like a crime from a simpler time). Keep a close eye on your banking statements and credit reports, and if you suspect your identity has become vulnerable to something fishy, report it to the Federal Trade Commission.