ABOUT THE DATA PRIVACY EVENT
Welfare & Pension Administration Service, Inc. (“WPAS”) learned of an incident that may affect the privacy of certain information. While our investigation into this incident is active and ongoing, WPAS is providing notice of the event out of an abundance of caution so potentially affected individuals may take steps to better protect their personal information, should they feel it appropriate to do so.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What Happened? On July 21, 2021, WPAS discovered that portions of its computer network were infected with malware that encrypted certain systems. WPAS promptly activated its Incident Response Team, isolated the affected systems, initiated other containment measures, and with the assistance of third-party forensic specialists, launched an investigation into the nature and scope of the incident. This investigation is active and ongoing.
While the investigation is ongoing, on or about July 28, 2021, the investigation confirmed that certain folders may have been accessed or removed from WPAS’s systems without authorization. Based on the investigation to date, WPAS has determined that those folders contain information related to certain PSBT plan participants. At this time, WPAS is undertaking a lengthy, time-intensive, and thorough review of the potentially impacted folders and its internal files and systems in order to identify the specific information that was potentially impacted and to whom it related so as to provide notification to potentially impacted individuals as quickly as possible.
What Information Was Involved? Although the investigation is ongoing and the information impacted will vary by individual, the involved WPAS systems contained the following types of information at the time of the incident: name, Social Security number, health insurance information, and medical treatment/diagnosis information.
What is WPAS Doing? Information security is one of WPAS’s highest priorities. Upon discovering this incident, WPAS took steps to respond. Further, WPAS notified federal law enforcement regarding this event. Moreover, WPAS is reviewing and enhancing existing policies and procedures and implementing additional safeguards to further secure the information in its systems and reduce the likelihood of a similar future event. Upon completion of its investigation, WPAS also plans to notify relevant state regulatory authorities as required.
What Can You Do? WPAS encourages you to remain vigilant against incidents of identity theft and fraud by reviewing your account statements and explanation of benefits and monitoring your free credit reports for suspicious activity. You may also review and consider the information and resources outlined in the below “Steps Individuals Can Take to Help Protect Their Personal Information.”
For More Information. While the investigation is ongoing and WPAS has not yet identified impacted information for specific individuals, should individuals have questions regarding this event, they may call WPAS’s dedicated assistance line at (206) 695-8702, which is available 9:00am – 5:00pm PT. Individuals may also write to WPAS at PO Box 34203, Seattle, WA 98124, Attention: Joan Gitahi, or via email [email protected].
STEPS INDIVIDUALS CAN TAKE TO HELP PROTECT THEIR PERSONAL INFORMATION
Monitor Your Accounts
Under U.S. law, a consumer is entitled to one free credit report annually from each of the three major credit reporting bureaus, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. To order your free credit report, visit www.annualcreditreport.com or call, toll-free, 1-877-322-8228. You may also directly contact the three major credit reporting bureaus listed below to request a free copy of your credit report.
Consumers have the right to place an initial or extended “fraud alert” on a credit file at no cost. An initial fraud alert is a 1-year alert that is placed on a consumer’s credit file. Upon seeing a fraud alert display on a consumer’s credit file, a business is required to take steps to verify the consumer’s identity before extending new credit. If you are a victim of identity theft, you are entitled to an extended fraud alert, which is a fraud alert lasting seven years. Should you wish to place a fraud alert, please contact any one of the three major credit reporting bureaus listed below.
As an alternative to a fraud alert, consumers have the right to place a “credit freeze” on a credit report, which will prohibit a credit bureau from releasing information in the credit report without the consumer’s express authorization. The credit freeze is designed to prevent credit, loans, and services from being approved in your name without your consent. However, you should be aware that using a credit freeze to take control over who gets access to the personal and financial information in your credit report may delay, interfere with, or prohibit the timely approval of any subsequent request or application you make regarding a new loan, credit, mortgage, or any other account involving the extension of credit. Pursuant to federal law, you cannot be charged to place or lift a credit freeze on your credit report. To request a security freeze, you will need to provide the following information:
- Full name (including middle initial as well as Jr., Sr., II, III, etc.);
- Social Security number;
- Date of birth;
- Addresses for the prior two to five years;
- Proof of current address, such as a current utility bill or telephone bill;
- A legible photocopy of a government-issued identification card (state driver’s license or ID card, etc.); and
- A copy of either the police report, investigative report, or complaint to a law enforcement agency concerning identity theft if you are a victim of identity theft.
Should you wish to place a credit freeze, please contact the three major credit reporting bureaus listed below:
|Equifax Fraud Alert, P.O. Box 105069 Atlanta, GA 30348-5069||Experian Fraud Alert, P.O. Box 9554, Allen, TX 75013||TransUnion Fraud Alert, P.O. Box 2000, Chester, PA 19016|
|Equifax Credit Freeze, P.O. Box 105788 Atlanta, GA 30348-5788||Experian Credit Freeze, P.O. Box 9554, Allen, TX 75013||TransUnion Credit Freeze, P.O. Box 160, Woodlyn, PA 19094|
You may further educate yourself regarding identity theft, fraud alerts, credit freezes, and the steps you can take to protect your personal information by contacting the consumer reporting bureaus, the Federal Trade Commission, or your state Attorney General. The Federal Trade Commission may be reached at: 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20580; www.identitytheft.gov; 1-877-ID-THEFT (1-877-438-4338); and TTY: 1-866-653-4261. The Federal Trade Commission also encourages those who discover that their information has been misused to file a complaint with them. You can obtain further information on how to file such a complaint by way of the contact information listed above. You have the right to file a police report if you ever experience identity theft or fraud. Please note that in order to file a report with law enforcement for identity theft, you will likely need to provide some proof that you have been a victim. Instances of known or suspected identity theft should also be reported to law enforcement and your state Attorney General. This notice has not been delayed by law enforcement.