Identity Fraud Affecting Millions of Patients

In the coming weeks, millions of patients across the country, some in San Angelo, will be notified that their personal information has been compromised. Community Medical Center's parent company, Community Health Systems, was hacked earlier this year, exposing patients to the risk of identity fraud. We spoke with local Better Business Bureau Representatives about what to do if you are at risk.

4.5 million (M) patients nationwide are at risk of identify theft following a data breach of Community Health Systems, the parent company of San Angelo's Community Medical Center. Chinese hackers gained access to names, social security numbers, physical addresses, birthdays and telephone numbers

"If somebody grabs that information [and] uses it, it could be devastating in the end," San Angelo Better Business Bureau President, Glenna Friedrich, says.

Friedrich says, it may take several months for identify theft and fraud to appear on your credit report.

"What we recommend is that the first thing you do is contact the three credit reporting agencies, the national ones, and alert them to the fact that your information has been compromised so that they can flag your report," Friedrich said.

Community Health Systems operates 206 hospitals across the United States. Friedrich says, despite their high security level, hackers used high-end sophisticated malware to launch the attacks.

"When you talk about hackers you're talking creative people that spend a lot of time to try to find ways and weaknesses in those walls there that the companies are putting up. There's so many way they can steal your identity, it's almost impossible to really fully protect yourself," Friedrich said.

Community Health Systems is working closely with the FBI to identify and arrest
the perpetrators in this data breach.

Friedrich recommends patients effected to file a claim with the San Angelo Better Business Bureau and flag your credit card accounts. If you are a victim of fraud or identity theft, contact the Federal Trade Commission Hotline at 1-877-438-4338.

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