December 16, 2017
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Data breach briefly exposes 2,100 Maine foster families

By Christopher Cousins, BDN Staff
Updated:
Erin Rhoda | BDN
Erin Rhoda | BDN
The outside of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services at 41 Anthony Ave. in Augusta.

The Maine state government is notifying 2,100 Mainers who have received foster care benefits that their personal information was temporarily compromised.

The Maine Office of Information Technology said Monday that names, addresses and Social Security numbers of people involved with the Department of Health and Human Services’ foster care system, including children and their legal guardians, were posted on a third-party website and taken down when state officials noticed.

“The file in question was removed from the website and any copies of the data in the company’s possession deleted,” said Jim Smith, Maine’s chief information officer.

Notices were being mailed to affected parties, including an offer for one year of free credit and identity monitoring from a firm called AllClear ID.

“While we do not know of any current misuse or any intent to misuse your information, we are providing this notice out of an abundance of caution,” the letters say.

The information was available on the third-party website for about 4½ hours on Sept. 21, 2017.

Participants in Maine’s foster care program who may have been affected can call the AllClear Response Center at 855-609-5573 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays.

The state also suggests that anyone who was affected should consider placing 90-day fraud alerts on their credit reports with any of the three major credit bureaus.


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