Dakota County has become aware of a data security incident that involved protected health information maintained by Dakota County Social Services. Dakota County has notified potentially impacted individuals and has provided resources to assist them. Read a copy of the letter.
On February 13, 2019, Dakota County learned that an email account belonging to one of its employees was accessed without authorization. Upon learning of this incident, Dakota County took steps to further secure its email system and network, including resetting the passwords on all employee email accounts and setting up an additional layer of authentication for remote access to the Dakota County network. Dakota County also launched an investigation and engaged independent cybersecurity experts to provide assistance. On March 27, 2019, as a result of this investigation, Dakota County learned that some of those messages within the impacted email account contained information belonging to current and former clients of Dakota County. The private information may have included names, addresses, driver's license numbers, Social Security numbers, health insurance information, and/or medical history, treatment, or diagnoses information.
Dakota County is not aware that any of the private information potentially involved in this incident has been misused. Dakota County takes the security of all information very seriously and is implementing additional security measures to prevent a similar occurrence in the future.
Notification letters were sent to all potentially impacted individuals on April 12, 2019. The letters include information about this incident and about steps that potentially impacted individuals can take to monitor and help protect their private information. Dakota County has established a toll-free call center to answer questions about the incident and to address related concerns. The call center is available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Central Time and can be reached at 1-800-939-4170. In addition, as a precaution, Dakota County is offering complimentary identity protection services through ID Experts to potentially impacted individuals. To determine if you are an impacted individual and qualify for this service, you must obtain verification through the call center. If you are an impacted individual, information on how to enroll for this service will be made available to you.
The privacy and protection of private information is a top priority for Dakota County. Dakota County deeply regrets any inconvenience or concern this incident may cause.
The following information is provided to help individuals wanting more information about steps that they can take to protect themselves:
What steps can I take to protect my private information?
- If you detect suspicious activity on any of your accounts, you should promptly notify the financial institution or company with which the account is maintained. You should also report any fraudulent activity or any suspected incidents of identity theft to law enforcement.
- You may obtain a copy of your credit report at no cost from each of the three nationwide credit reporting agencies. To do so, visit www.annualcreditreport.com or call toll free at 1-877-322-8228. Contact information for the three agencies appears at the bottom of this page.
- Notify your financial institution immediately of any unauthorized transactions made, or new accounts opened, in your name.
- You can take steps recommended by the Federal Trade Commission to protect yourself from identify theft. The FTC's website offers helpful information at www.ftc.gov/idtheft.
What should I do to protect myself from payment card/credit card fraud?
We suggest that you review your debit and credit card statements carefully in order to identify any unusual activity. If you see anything that you do not understand or that looks suspicious, you should contact the issuer of the debit or credit card immediately.
How do I obtain a copy of my credit report?
You can obtain a copy of your credit report, free of charge, directly from each of the three nationwide credit reporting agencies once every twelve (12) months. To do so, please visit www.annualcreditreport.com or call toll free at 1-877-322-8228. Contact information for the three agencies is included in the notification letter and is also listed at the bottom of this page.
How do I put a fraud alert on my account?
You may consider placing a fraud alert on your credit report. This fraud alert informs creditors of possible fraudulent activity within your report and requests that creditors contact you prior to establishing any accounts in your name. To place a fraud alert on your credit report, contact Equifax, Experian or TransUnion and follow the Fraud Victims instructions. To place a fraud alert on your credit accounts, contact your financial institution or credit provider. Contact information for the three nationwide credit reporting agencies is listed below.
Contact information for the three nationwide credit reporting agencies is as follows:
Equifax Security Freeze
PO Box 105788
Atlanta, GA 30348
Experian Security Freeze
PO Box 9554
Allen, TX 75013
PO Box 2000
Chester, PA 19022
Want More Information?
Dakota County is preparing a report detailing the facts and results of this incident. You may request a copy of the report by calling 651-554-6244, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or by mailing your request to the following address:
HIPAA Privacy Officer / Data Practices Compliance Official
Dakota County Community Services Administration
1 Mendota Rd W, Suite 500
West St. Paul, MN 55118