Posted by:  Jason T. Johns

It seems every week brings yet another report of a data breach. The Capital One data breach last year compromised the personal data of nearly 100 million customers. But what hasn’t received as much news coverage are the recent breaches affecting seniors.

One such breach occurred in May 2018. That breach compromised the personal information of almost 4,000 clients and employees of home care and support services for seniors in the San Francisco Bay area. The “personal information” exposed included names, emails, phone numbers, Social Security numbers, financial records, and health information.

Data breaches have been on the rise. In 2018 there were three times as many records breaches as in 2017, with 15 million patient records compromised in the healthcare sector. As of July 2019, there had been more than 25 million records breached.

Just one security incident in April 2019 affected at least 60 facilities in Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, and Tennessee, compromising the personal information of an unknown number of patients in those four states.

This is an issue that is becoming increasingly important in a variety of sectors but especially in the healthcare sector. However, many in this area are ill-prepared to handle it. Data breaches are going on for extended periods, and not being reported within the 60 days mandated by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”).

Part of the problem is that the technological landscape of today is remarkably different from that of 1996 when HIPAA was enacted. Unfortunately, any legislation or regulation enacted today would face a similar problem: technology continues to adapt quickly, and the market pushes the healthcare sector to invest in technological advances as they come.

A few tips to protect your online information:

  • Never open an email from an unknown sender that contains an attachment.
  • When storing information online with a bank or medical provider, make sure you choose a strong password – one that contains a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols that is not easy to guess.
  • Do not store credit card or social security information online.

If you have questions or would like to discuss your asset protection and planning needs, we would be happy to help. 

Our firm is dedicated to helping our clients and their loved ones work through issues and implement sound legal planning to address them. If we can help in any way, please don’t hesitate to contact our office at (630) 221-1755.