About the data privacy event
Northwood, Inc. (“Northwood”) recently discovered an incident that may affect the security of personal information of certain individuals, including those who received durable medical equipment either supplied or managed by Northwood. We take this incident very seriously, and we have been working diligently with the assistance of third-party forensic investigators to determine the full nature and scope of this incident. We are taking additional actions to strengthen the security of our email systems moving forward. Northwood is also contacting the appropriate regulators regarding this incident.
What happened? On May 6, 2019, Northwood became aware of suspicious activity relating to an employee email account. We immediately launched an investigation to determine what may have happened and what information may have been affected. Working together with a leading computer forensics expert, our investigation determined that an unauthorized individual or individuals accessed the email account between May 3, 2019 and May 6, 2019. Because Northwood was unable to determine which email messages in the account may have been opened or viewed by the unauthorized actor, we reviewed the contents of the entire email account to identify what personal information was stored within it.
What information may have been affected by this incident?
On June 19, 2019, Northwood determined that the affected email account contained information related to certain individuals who received durable medical equipment either supplied or managed by Northwood. The type of information affected varies per impacted individual, and includes one or more of the following types of information: name, address, date of birth, date(s) of service, provider name, medical record number, patient identification number, medical device description, diagnosis, diagnosis code(s), treatment information, member health plan identification, and in a very small number of instances, Social Security numbers, driver’s license number and health insurance provider names were also impacted for healthcare plan members.
Separately, also contained in the impacted email account was information pertaining to certain healthcare providers in connection with their exclusion status with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, including their names and Social Security numbers.
Although we cannot confirm that any individual’s personal information was actually accessed, or viewed without permission, we are providing this notice out of an abundance of caution. While our investigation is ongoing, we do not currently have any evidence of actual or attempted misuse of any individual’s information as a result of this incident.
How will individuals know if they are affected by this incident?
Northwood is mailing notice letters to the individuals whose protected information was contained within the affected email account and may have been accessed or acquired by an unauthorized actor. If an individual did not receive a letter but would like to know if they are affected, they may call the hotline listed below.
What is Northwood doing?
Northwood has strict security measures in place to protect the information in out possession. Upon learning of this incident, we immediately took the impacted email account offline and changed the account password. Northwood then implemented mandatory password resets for all employee email accounts and notified employees to be on the lookout for suspicious emails. We implemented additional technical safeguards on our email system, as well as training and education for our employees in order to prevent similar future incidents. We are also offering the impacted individuals access to complimentary credit monitoring services as an added precaution. Because Northwood has insufficient contact information for some of the individuals whose information may be contained in the impacted employee email account, we are providing notice to potentially impacted individuals by way of a notification published to certain state media outlets and in certain state media publications. Northwood is mailing notice letters to those individuals for whom it has confirmed mailing address information. Northwood has reported this incident to law enforcement.
Although we are not aware of any actual or attempted misuse of any individuals’ information, we are also providing the impacted individuals access to complimentary credit monitoring services as an added precaution.
Whom should individuals contact for more information?
If individuals have questions or would like additional information, they may call our dedicated assistance line at 800-494-0297 (toll free), Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., CST.
What can individuals do to protect their information?
Monitor Your Accounts.
To protect against the possibility of identity theft or other financial loss, we encourage you to remain vigilant, to review your account statements, and to monitor your credit reports for suspicious activity.
We recommend that you regularly review any Explanation of Benefits statements that you receive from your insurer. If you see any service that you believe you did not receive, please contact your insurer at the number on your statement. If you do not receive regular Explanation of Benefits statements, you can contact your insurer and request that they send such statements following the provision of services in your name or number.
Under U.S. law, you are entitled to one free credit report annually from each of the three major credit reporting bureaus. To order your free credit report, visit www.annualcreditreport.com or call, toll-free, 1-877-322-8228. You may also contact the three major credit bureaus directly to request a free copy of your credit report.
You have the right to place a “security freeze” on your credit report, which will prohibit a consumer reporting agency from releasing information in your credit report without your express authorization. The security freeze is designed to prevent credit, loans, and services from being approved in your name without your consent. However, you should be aware that using a security freeze to take control over who gets access to the personal and financial information in your credit report may delay, interfere with, or prohibit the timely approval of any subsequent request or application you make regarding a new loan, credit, mortgage, or any other account involving the extension of credit. Pursuant to federal law, you cannot be charged to place or lift a security freeze on your credit report. In order to request a security freeze, you will need to supply your full name, address, date of birth, Social Security number, current address, all addresses for up to five previous years, email address, a copy of your state identification card or driver’s license, and a copy of a utility bill, bank or insurance statement, or other statement proving residence.
Should you wish to place a security freeze, please contact the major consumer reporting agencies listed below:
PO Box 9554
Allen, TX 75013
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19016
PO Box 105788
Atlanta, GA 30348-5788
To remove the security freeze, you must send a written request to each of the three credit bureaus by mail and include proper identification (name, address, and social security number) and the PIN number or password provided to you when you placed the security freeze. The credit bureaus have three (3) business days after receiving your request to remove the security freeze.
As an alternative to a security freeze, you have the right to place an initial or extended “fraud alert” on your file at no cost. An initial fraud alert is a 1-year alert that is placed on a consumer’s credit file. Upon seeing a fraud alert display on a consumer’s credit file, a business is required to take steps to verify the consumer’s identity before extending new credit. If you are a victim of identity theft, you are entitled to an extended fraud alert, which is a fraud alert lasting seven years. Should you wish to place a fraud alert, please contact any one of the agencies listed below:
P.O. Box 2002
Allen, TX 75013
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19016
P.O. Box 105069
Atlanta, GA 30348
Additional Information. You can further educate yourself regarding identity theft, and the steps you can take to protect yourself, by contacting your state Attorney General or the Federal Trade Commission. The Federal Trade Commission also encourages those who discover that their information has been misused to file a complaint with them. The Federal Trade Commission can be reached at: 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20580; www.ftc.gov/idtheft; 1-877-ID-THEFT (1-877-438-4338); and TTY: 1-866-653-4261. Instances of known or suspected identity theft should be reported to law enforcement, your Attorney General, and the FTC. You can also further educate yourself about placing a fraud alert or security freeze on your credit file by contacting the FTC or your state’s Attorney General. For Maryland residents, the Attorney General can be contacted by mail at 200 St. Paul Place, Baltimore, MD, 21202; toll-free at 1-888-743-0023; by phone at (410) 576-6300; consumer hotline (410) 528-8662; and online at www.marylandattorneygeneral.gov. For New Mexico residents, you have rights pursuant to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, such as the right to be told if information in your credit file has been used against you, the right to know what is in your credit file, the right to ask for your credit score, and the right to dispute incomplete or inaccurate information. Further, pursuant to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the consumer reporting agencies must correct or delete inaccurate, incomplete, or unverifiable information; consumer reporting agencies may not report outdated negative information; access to your file is limited; you must give your consent for credit reports to be provided to employers; you may limit “prescreened” offers of credit and insurance you get based on information in your credit report; and you may seek damages from violator. You may have additional rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act not summarized here. Identity theft victims and active duty military personnel have specific additional rights pursuant to the Fair Credit Reporting Act. We encourage you to review your rights pursuant to the Fair Credit Reporting Act by visiting www.consumerfinance.gov/f/201504_cfpb_summary_your-rights-under-fcra.pdf, or by writing Consumer Response Center, Room 130-A, Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580. For North Carolina Residents: The North Carolina Attorney General can be contacted by mail at 9001 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-9001; toll-free at 1-877-566-7226; by phone at 1-919-716-6400, and online at www.ncdoj.gov. For Rhode Island Residents: The Rhode Island Attorney General can be reached at: 150 South Main Street, Providence, Rhode Island 02903, www.riag.ri.gov, 1-401-247-4400. Under Rhode Island law, you have the right to obtain any police report filed in regard to this incident. There are approximately 500 Rhode Island residents impacted by this incident.Leave a reply →