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Better Business Bureau ®
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Chicago and Northern Illinois
Data Breach Involving Major Healthcare Company Affects 4.5 Million People, says Better Business Bureau
August 18, 2014

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning consumers that the most recent data breach that has impacted Community Health Systems Inc., is yet another example of how easily your personal information can be compromised.

Community Health Systems Inc., which owns 206 hospitals in 29 states, says that it is the victim of a recent cyber-attack from a sophisticated group of hackers located in China. This cyber-attack has resulted in the theft of personal data from 4.5 million patients including their names, addresses, birth dates, telephone numbers and social security numbers.

Three of the 206 hospitals that could be affected are located in the northern Illinois area including Metro South Medical Center located in Blue Island, Vista Medical Center located in Waukegan and Vista Medical Center West, also located in Waukegan.

“This most recent attack is the perfect example of how vulnerable your personal information really is. Not only are hackers trying to steal information to hack into bank accounts, but they have also resorted to stealing health care information in order to obtain prescriptions,” said Steve J. Bernas, president and CEO of the BBB serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. Additionally, he says, “As consumers, we must always be vigilant in protecting ourselves against becoming a victim of identity theft.”

Should you find that you have become a victim of a data breach, the BBB recommends five things you need to do:

  • Contact the organization that suffered the breach – they should have a hot line setup to address your concerns and answer your questions.
  • Monitor your banking and credit statements closely – Check every item on your bank statements and credit card statements to be sure they are legitimate charges and expenditures.
  • Contact any affected financial companies – If your bank accounts, credit card accounts, or investment accounts are affected, immediately contact the companies and request that the account be closed and a new one opened.
  • File a fraud alert with all three credit reporting agencies – The credit reporting agencies are required by law to flag your credit report for 90 days if you file a fraud alert. Then if someone tries to open a new account using your information you should be contacted for verification.
  • Sign up for any free credit report monitoring that’s offered – If the company that compromised your information offers a free monitoring program take advantage of it [One credit report provider is www.annualcreditreport.com].

Bernas adds, “Identity theft is still the fastest growing white collar crime. The BBB is here for consumers not only when they need help finding a trustworthy business, but also to help protect their identity.”

For more tips on protecting yourself against a data breach, visit www.bbb.org, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

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The BBB is a non-profit, non-governmental organization.  It is supported by businesses to protect consumers against scams and other unethical business practices.  The group accomplishes this by educating both consumers and businesses, and by highlighting trustworthy businesses. By developing reports and ratings on businesses and charitable organizations, the BBB encourages people to use these as resources and referrals to utilize the free services before making a purchase or donation. The BBB helps resolve buyer/seller complaints through its alternative dispute resolution process. In 2013, the BBB provided more than 22,600,000 instances of service.  Over 80 percent of consumer complaints to the BBB were resolved. The Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois is a member of the international BBB system that services the United States, Canada and Mexico.