California Statewide Automated Welfare System Data Breach

By
Will Gendron
Apr 9, 2024 7:04 AM
Over a year, personal data including SSNs and EBT numbers of BenefitsCal users were exposed. Learn steps to secure your info.
California Statewide Automated Welfare System Data Breach

What Happened?

On February 9, 2024, the California Statewide Automated Welfare System, known as BenefitsCal, identified a significant security incident. Unauthorized access to user accounts was detected, which occurred due to the use of passwords that were compromised on other websites. This unauthorized access spanned from March 1, 2023, to February 13, 2024. During this period, the personal information of some users may have been exposed.

The types of consumer information that could have been accessed include names, addresses, dates of birth, Social Security Numbers, email addresses, phone numbers, EBT card numbers, case numbers, Medi-Cal ID numbers, and details regarding program eligibility and benefits.

BenefitsCal has taken immediate action by deactivating affected accounts to prevent further unauthorized access. They have also implemented additional security measures, such as multi-factor authentication and the reissuance of EBT cards where necessary.

For those potentially affected, it's crucial to understand the steps to take to safeguard your personal information. BenefitsCal has provided a comprehensive Notice to Consumers with detailed instructions and resources.

Immediate Steps to Take

If you believe your information may have been compromised in this breach, here are some immediate actions you can take:

  • Change your passwords for all online accounts, ensuring each account has a unique password.
  • Enable multi-factor authentication wherever possible to add an extra layer of security.
  • Be vigilant about unsolicited emails or phone calls requesting personal information.
  • Monitor your accounts regularly for any unauthorized activity.
  • Update your security settings on email and phone accounts to strengthen your privacy.

Protecting Your Credit

Monitoring your credit is a vital step in detecting potential identity theft. Here are some resources to help you:

  1. Free Credit Report: You're entitled to a free credit report annually from each of the three major credit bureaus. Review these reports for any discrepancies at AnnualCreditReport.com or by calling 1-877-322-8228.
  2. Credit Freeze: You can place a credit freeze on your files, which prevents credit bureaus from sharing your credit report without your permission. This can help stop the opening of new accounts in your name.
  3. Fraud Alert: Placing a fraud alert on your credit files requires businesses to verify your identity before extending new credit. This is particularly useful if you suspect or have been a victim of identity theft.

For more detailed information on these protective measures, you can contact the major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.

Additional Support

For further guidance on identity theft and what to do if you're affected, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) offers resources at IdentityTheft.gov. The California Attorney General also provides information on identity theft at their website.

If you have any questions or need assistance, you can reach out to BenefitsCal through the contact information provided in their notice.

By taking these steps, you can help secure your personal information and mitigate the potential impact of the data breach. Stay informed, stay vigilant, and take action to protect your identity.

Affected by the data breach?

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Consumer Notice

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