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:
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.”
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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.