South Walton Fire District Notifies Individuals of Data Security Incident
Santa Rosa Beach, Florida: November 21, 2022– South Walton Fire District (“SWFD”), a provider of fire protection and emergency medical services, has learned of a ransomware incident that may have impacted data belonging to certain individuals. SWFD has sent notification of this incident to potentially impacted individuals and has provided resources to assist them.
On May 30, 2022, SWFD learned that an unauthorized actor temporarily gained access to SWFD’s computer network. Immediately upon learning of this activity, SWFD took action to secure its environment and notified federal, state, and local law enforcement authorities. SWFD then commenced an investigation to determine what happened and what data was potentially impacted.
As part of its investigation, SWFD engaged independent cybersecurity experts for assistance and learned that certain archived, protected patient information may have been impacted. This potentially affected information included: names, addresses, Social Security numbers, dates of birth, treatment dates, medical diagnostic and treatment information, and health insurance information. SWFD thereafter began collecting contact information needed to provide notice to potentially affected individuals, which was completed in October of 2022.
SWFD has no evidence that any of the information involved has been misused. However, out of an abundance of caution, SWFD has worked to identify the potentially affected individuals in order to provide written notice of the incident and resources to help each potentially impacted person protect their identity. Beginning on November 21, 2022, impacted individuals will be receiving notice of this incident. The notice will include information about the incident and the steps that potentially impacted individuals can take to protect their information. SWFD will also provide access to complimentary credit monitoring and identity theft protection services to potentially impacted individuals.
SWFD was able to secure its digital environment without paying any ransom and immediately moved forward from the incident by enacting further layers of data security.
SWFD has established a toll-free call center to answer questions about the incident and to address related concerns. Call center representatives are available Monday through Friday between 8:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. Central Time and can be reached at 1-800-939-4170.
The privacy and protection of personal and protected health information is a top priority for SWFD. Protecting patient information at all costs is a critical operational piece to SWFD’s role as a care provider.
While we are not aware of the misuse of any potentially affected individual’s information, we are providing the following information to help those wanting to know more about steps they can take to protect themselves and their personal information:
What steps can I take to protect my personal information
- Please notify your financial institution immediately if you detect any suspicious activity on any of your accounts, including unauthorized transactions or new accounts opened in your name that you do not recognize. You should also promptly report any fraudulent activity or any suspected incidents of identity theft to proper law enforcement authorities.
- You can request a copy of your credit report, free of charge, directly from each of the three nationwide credit reporting agencies. To do so, free of charge once every 12 months, please visit www.annualcreditreport.com or call toll free at 1-877-322-8228. Contact information for the three nationwide credit reporting agencies is listed at the bottom of this page.
- 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.
- Additional information on what you can do to better protect yourself is included in your notification letter.
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. To order your credit report, free of charge once every 12 months, please visit www.annualcreditreport.com or call toll free at 1-877-322-8228. Use the following contact information for the three nationwide credit reporting agencies:
How do I put a fraud alert on my account?
You may consider placing a fraud alert on your credit report. This fraud alert statement informs creditors to possible fraudulent activity within your report and requests that your creditor 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 included in the letter and is also listed at the bottom of this page.
How do I put a security freeze on my credit reports?
You also have the right to place a security freeze on your credit report. A security freeze is intended to prevent credit, loans and services from being approved in your name without your consent. To place a security freeze on your credit report, you need to make a request to each consumer reporting agency. You may make that request by certified mail, overnight mail, or regular stamped mail, or online by following the instructions found at the websites listed below. You will need to provide the following information when requesting a security freeze (note that if you are making a request for your spouse, this information must be provided for him/her as well): (1) full name, with middle initial and any suffixes; (2) Social Security number; (3) date of birth; (4) address. You may also be asked to provide other personal information such as your email address, a copy of a government-issued identification card, and a copy of a recent utility bill or bank or insurance statement. It is essential that each copy be legible, display your name and current mailing address, and the date of issue. There is no charge to place, lift, or remove a freeze. You may obtain a security freeze by contacting any one or more of the following national consumer reporting agencies:
Equifax Security Freeze
P.O. Box 105788
Atlanta, GA 30348
Experian Security Freeze
P.O. Box 9554
Allen, TX 75013
What should I do if my family member was involved in the incident and is deceased?
You may choose to notify the three major credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian and Trans Union, and request they flag the deceased credit file. This will prevent the credit file information from being used to open credit. To make this request, mail a copy of your family member’s death certificate to each company at the addresses below.
Equifax Information Services
P.O. Box 105169
Atlanta, GA 30348
Experian Information Services
P.O. Box 9701
Allen, TX 75013
Trans Union Information Services
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19022