Job placement program accidentally releases names, Social Security numbers of clients

August 3, 2007
What happened? The Workforce Alliance of West Palm Beach, Fla. accidentally released the names and Social Security numbers of 210 people in a job placement program.

An employee accidentally emailed the personal information, stored on an Excel spreadsheet, to some of the company’s customers.

What was the response? The employee then sent a second message asking the recipients to delete the email and told supervisors what happened.

Administrators contacted recipients to make them aware of the breach.

The company added password protection to its email system and is expected to begin a training session on identity theft.

It has also instructed employees on how to block out portions of a Social Security number when using Excel.

The agency has agreed to pay $12,500 a year to provide credit monitoring service to victims.

Details: Clients are college-educated job searchers with professional or managerial experience.

Quote: “This was a mistake with a lot of confidential information. It won’t ever happen again,” said Kathryn Schmidt, Workforce Alliance chief executive.

Source: The Palm Beach Post, Aug. 3, “Agency releases Social Security numbers by mistake
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