Berkeley officials said today that more than 900 people who were taken to hospitals by Berkeley Fire Department crews may have had their personal information stolen by an identity theft ring.
City officials said their ambulance-billing vendor, Advanced Data Processing Inc., which is based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., told them that they learned in October that patient information of some of the city's ambulance customers was inappropriately accessed by one of their employees in conjunction with a scheme to commit identity theft.
The company, which does business as Intermedix Inc., said some of the stolen data was disclosed to a theft ring suspected of filing fraudulent federal tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service.
ADPI said it is working closely with federal and local law enforcement agencies who are conducting a criminal investigation and it has terminated the employee's employment and access to its system.
Berkeley officials said ADPI conducted its own investigation of the incident and told them on Oct. 15 that the personal information of 168 city of Berkeley ambulance customers had been inappropriately accessed.
City officials said that on Nov. 21, after completing further forensic analysis, ADPI notified them that the employee may have accessed an additional 763 customer records, so a total of 931 customers may be affected.
They said the unauthorized access to and, in certain instances disclosure of, personal information, may have included patient names, social security numbers, and dates of birth.
However, ADPI has determined that no medical information was accessed or disclosed, according to city officials.
The city and ADPI sent a letter about the breach of information to the initial 168 customers on Nov. 15 and a letter to the additional 763 customers was mailed Thursday.
Berkeley officials said the letter advises potentially impacted individuals how to monitor their credit report for suspected misuse.
They said people who believe they may be affected by this incident are advised to review credit card account statements and monitor their credit report for unauthorized activity.
Information and resources are available at www.myidcare.com/intersecurity.
The letter also tells impacted Berkeley customers that ADPI will pay for one year of credit monitoring service to detect any fraudulent use of personal information, along with information on how to access this service.
Berkeley officials said if customers have any questions, they should call the city's customer service line at 311 or (510) 981-CITY for callers outside the city.
In addition, ADPI has retained identity experts to provide information to help affected customers. Customers who want further information can call 1 (877) 264-9622 Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern Time or visit www.myidcare.com/intersecurity.