(WNY News Now) – New York Attorney General Letitia James issued a cautionary alert to citizens affected by a data breach at Perry Johnson & Associates, a medical transcription company. The breach, which came to light in May 2023, has impacted nearly nine million patients, with approximately four million New Yorkers, including residents of New York City and Syracuse, affected.
Notably, major healthcare institutions like Northwell Health and Crouse Health have been affected as well. While most individuals have been notified of the breach, the Attorney General urges affected parties to take immediate action to safeguard against potential identity theft.
Perry Johnson & Associates, based in Nevada, specializes in providing transcription services to healthcare organizations and physicians for dictating and transcribing patient notes. The compromised data includes certain social security numbers, insurance details, and clinical information extracted from medical transcription files.
Attorney General James emphasized the criticality of staying vigilant in the aftermath of the breach. She asserted, “Bad actors can use the stolen information to impersonate individuals or cause financial harm. Identity theft is a serious issue, and my office will continue to take action to keep New Yorkers safe.”
For those who suspect they were impacted, Attorney General James recommends taking specific measures to protect themselves:
- Monitor Your Credit: Utilize credit monitoring services to track changes in your credit report. These services promptly notify you of any alterations, such as new accounts or significant purchases.
- Credit Freeze: Consider placing a credit freeze on your report. This prevents identity thieves from opening new credit accounts in your name. Contact major credit bureaus—Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion—to implement this freeze.
- Fraud Alert: Place a fraud alert on your credit report to prompt lenders and creditors to verify your identity before extending credit. Contact any major credit bureau to activate this alert.
- Medical Records Review: Obtain copies of your medical records from healthcare providers, pharmacies, and insurers. Scrutinize the records for unfamiliar entries and report errors to healthcare providers.
- Contest Unrecognized Medical Billing: Challenge any unfamiliar medical bills promptly to address potential fraudulent activity.
- Inform Your Insurance Company: Report suspected fraud to your insurance provider and inquire about specific protocols for such situations. For Medicare-related concerns, contact the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General.
- FTC Report: If you fall victim to medical identity theft, consider filing a report with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) either online or by calling 877-438-4338.