Backpack in Access Health CT breach left outside for 20 hours - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Backpack in Access Health CT breach left outside for 20 hours

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HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

The backpack that contained personal information of hundreds of Access Health CT clients was left outside of a Hartford deli for 20 hours before it was reported.

The backpack that was found reportedly belonged to an employee of an Access Health CT call center, and was said to contain information for about 400 individuals. After an examination, Access Health CT said Sunday that fewer than 200 Social Security numbers were discovered among the information.

The backpack was said to have been left at New York Deli & More, located on Trumbull Street, Thursday afternoon and nobody reported it being left until Friday at about noon.

Officials from Access Health and Maximus, the company outsourced to handle calls where the backpack's owner worked, said the backpack contained 413 names, 151 social security numbers and birthdates. They said information is sometimes handwritten on personal notebooks as workers in the call centers transfer information between computer systems. The employee is currently on administrative leave during the investigation.

"Removing any personal data from our offices is strictly prohibited," said Ilene Baylinson, Maximus Eastern Region president.

The backpack was left outside all night, and was discovered at noon on Friday by an individual who called Republican state Rep. Jay Case. State Republicans called Access Health and got the police, Health and Human Services and the attorney general involved.

Those who have been affected will get a certified letter, a phone call, free credit monitoring and theft and fraud insurance.

"Just in case something happens that affects these people and their bank accounts," said Chief Marketing Officer for Access Health CT Jason Madrak.

For months Connecticut Republicans have had concerns over identity theft, and they said this backpack falling into their laps was their silver bullet.

"Overall, we've been concerned about this from the beginning," said Pat O'Neil, House Republican spokesperson.

Republican state Rep. Larry Cafero, who is also House Republican leader, released a statement Monday regarding the backpack that was found, and called the incident an "appalling lack of oversight."

Access Health does full background checks and training on all employees and they said the incident was an honest mistake, however, they have not commented on any forms of punishment for the employee.

The company also said they are looking to move toward being a paperless office, using small dry erase boards instead of paper.

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