Multiple Jonesboro physicians, dentists affected by nationwide data breach

Multiple Jonesboro physicians, dentists affected by nationwide data breach

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Multiple Jonesboro doctors filed reports with police and the IRS after they found out they were victims of a major data breach.

The large scale breaches happened earlier this year to companies like Anthem and Premera Blue Cross. However, some people in Region 8 are seeing the effects now that tax season has wrapped up.

Nearly a dozen police reports have already been filed with the Jonesboro Police Department and more victims are out there. Those targeted seem to be a very specific group.

"Before we knew it, we had about 15-17 physicians and a couple of dentists all that we just kinda knew personally, through word of mouth that this happened to over the last couple of days," OBGYN, Dr. Joe Sams told Region 8 News.

Dr. Sams, who works at St. Bernards in Jonesboro, said he and other doctors found out the same way.

"When they went to submit our taxes, that a tax report had already been filled out in our name or in our tax ID number, social security number," Dr. Sams said.

The data breach appears to stem from a large scale breach with Premera Blue Cross earlier this year. It's expected 11 million customers were affected.

Premera operates out of Alaska and Washington but Premera Blue Cross helps process Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield plan claims. That company has since notified plan members like Dr. Sams.

The notification warns that hackers were able to access personal information collected over the past thirteen years.

"Once they get into that amount of data, they've got access, not only to providers through the insurance company but also potentially patients and anyone who held a policy in those companies," Dr. Sams said. "You know if you fill out paperwork for a health insurance policy or anything else. You give a lot of information. All your dates of births, social security numbers and all that information so it's scary now what they do have access to."

Dr. Sams said from what he can gather, hackers were able to access those major insurance companies like Premera and Anthem through the Affordable Health Care Act website.

"And they're able to reach a lot of information through those insurance companies," Dr. Sams said.

Though Dr. Sams and other physicians affected are taking the proper steps, this won't be a quick process.

"We don't know when and if this is ever gonna come to an end," Dr. Sams said. "That's the scary part for us."

Dr. Sams said he has filed affidavit with IRS. Premera Blue Cross is offering a free two-year credit monitoring membership for those whose information was obtained.

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