Individuals Affected by TRICARE Data Breach Allege Possible Fraud

TOPIC ALERT:

Several individuals who were affected by last year's TRICARE data breach have reported potentially fraudulent activity in their financial accounts, NextGov reports.

TRICARE provides health benefits for military personnel, retirees and their families (Brewin, NextGov, 3/14).

Background

Science Applications International Corporation -- a Department of Defense contractor -- reported the data breach on Sept. 14, 2011. SAIC said the incident involved the loss of backup computer tapes from an electronic health record system.

The tapes contained data on 4.9 million TRICARE beneficiaries who received care at military facilities between 1992 and Sept. 7, 2011. The affected beneficiaries are residents of TRICARE's southern region.

According to officials, the patient data on the tapes include:

  • Addresses;
  • Personal health information;
  • Phone numbers; and
  • Social Security numbers (iHealthBeat, 12/6/11).

In October 2011, some of the affected individuals filed a class-action lawsuit against DOD, seeking $4.9 billion in damages (iHealthBeat, 10/14/11). Since then, seven more lawsuits have been filed against DOD over the incident.

Claims of Possible Financial Fraud

Last month, attorneys filed an amended complaint in the original lawsuit against DOD and SAIC, claiming that several plaintiffs noticed fraudulent activity in their financial accounts after the theft.

As a result of the potential fraud, plaintiffs said they have had to:

  • Cancel credit cards and close bank accounts;
  • Open new credit cards and bank accounts;
  • Stop direct deposits and recurring electronic payments from compromised accounts and restart the services in new accounts; and
  • Spend time and money responding to notices that certain financial accounts were compromised (NextGov, 3/14).

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