NOTICE OF DATA PRIVACY INCIDENT
Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgeons, P.A. (“CTVS”) writes to notify you of a recent event that may impact the privacy of some of your information. While we are unaware of any attempted or actual misuse of your information at this time, we are providing you with this notice to inform you of the incident, our response, and steps you may take to help protect your information, should you feel it necessary to do so. The confidentiality, privacy, and security of information in CTVS’s care is one of its highest priorities and CTVS takes this incident very seriously.
What Happened? On October 13, 2023, CTVS became aware of suspicious activity relating to its systems. CTVS immediately launched an investigation to determine the full nature and scope of the activity and to restore functionality to the impacted systems. The investigation determined that certain information stored within our environment was viewed or taken by an unauthorized actor between October 12, 2023 and October 13, 2023. Upon becoming aware of this information, CTVS began a diligent and comprehensive review process to identify sensitive information that was contained within the impacted files, and to identify the individuals whose information may have been impacted. CTVS then worked to identify appropriate contact information for the impacted individuals. That process completed on January 22, 2024, and CTVS provided written notification to individuals whose information was contained within the impacted files.
What Information Was Involved? If you received a notification letter, it is because the investigation into the incident determined that your information was present in the impacted files. The information that was contained within the files at issue is unique to each individual and is included in the provided notice letters. Generally speaking, the following types of information are anticipated to be present in the impacted files: individuals’ names and Social Security Number, credit card information, account number and password, financial account information, Driver’s license, date of birth, medical record number, health insurance numbers and other health insurance information, patient account number, doctor or medical professional name, treatment information, procedure code, diagnosis code, Medicaid/Medicare number, dates of treatment, prescription information, diagnosis and symptoms information. At this time, we have no evidence that information was subject to actual or attempted misuse as a result of this incident.
What We Are Doing. The confidentiality, privacy, and security of information within our care is among CTVS’s highest priorities. Upon learning of the incident, we took immediate steps to secure our environment and investigate the activity. We also commenced an investigation to understand the nature and scope of the incident. As part of our ongoing commitment to the privacy of information in our care, we are reviewing our policies, procedures, and processes related to the storage and access of sensitive information to reduce the likelihood of a similar future incident. We also provided notification to state and federal regulators, as required. As an added precaution we are also offering notified individuals 12 months of complimentary access to credit monitoring services through TransUnion.
For More Information. Potentially affected individuals may have questions regarding this incident that are not addressed in this letter. If you have additional questions and believe you may be impacted by this incident, please call the dedicated assistance line at 1-833-791-2491, toll-free, from 8:00am-8:00pm EST. You may also write to CTVS at 1010 West 40th Street, Austin, Texas 78756.
What You Can Do. While CTVS is not aware of any actual or attempted misuse of information as a result of this incident, CTVS nonetheless encourages individuals to remain vigilant against incidents of identity theft and fraud by reviewing your account statements and monitoring your credit reports for suspicious activity. Under U.S. law, a consumer is entitled to one free credit report annually from each of the three major credit reporting bureaus, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. To order a free credit report, visit www.annualcreditreport.com or call, toll-free, 1-877-322-8228. Individuals may also directly contact the three major credit reporting bureaus listed below to request a free copy of their credit report.
Consumers have the right to place an initial or extended “fraud alert” on a credit file at no cost. An initial fraud alert is a one-year alert that is placed on a consumer’s credit file. Upon seeing a fraud alert display on a consumer’s credit file, a business is required to take steps to verify the consumer’s identity before extending new credit. If an individual is a victim of identity theft, they are entitled to an extended fraud alert, which is a fraud alert lasting seven years. Should an individual wish to place a fraud alert, please contact any one of the three major credit reporting bureaus listed below.
As an alternative to a fraud alert, consumers have the right to place a “credit freeze” on a credit report, which will prohibit a credit bureau from releasing information in the credit report without the consumer’s express authorization. The credit freeze is designed to prevent credit, loans, and services from being approved in a consumer’s name without their consent. However, individuals should be aware that using a credit freeze to take control over who gets access to the personal and financial information in a credit report may delay, interfere with, or prohibit the timely approval of any subsequent request or application they make regarding a new loan, credit, mortgage, or any other account involving the extension of credit. Pursuant to federal law, individuals cannot be charged to place or lift a credit freeze on their credit report. To request a credit freeze, individuals will need to provide the following information:
- Full name (including middle initial as well as Jr., Sr., II, III, etc.);
- Social Security number;
- Date of birth;
- Addresses for the prior two to five years;
- Proof of current address, such as a current utility bill or telephone bill;
- A legible photocopy of a government-issued identification card (state driver’s license or ID card, etc.); and
- A copy of either the police report, investigative report, or complaint to a law enforcement agency concerning identity theft if they are a victim of identity theft.
Should individuals wish to place a credit freeze, please contact the three major credit reporting bureaus listed below:
|Equifax Fraud Alert, P.O. Box 105069 Atlanta, GA 30348-5069
|Experian Fraud Alert, P.O. Box 9554, Allen, TX 75013
|TransUnion Fraud Alert, P.O. Box 2000, Chester, PA 19016
|Equifax Credit Freeze, P.O. Box 105788 Atlanta, GA 30348-5788
|Experian Credit Freeze, P.O. Box 9554, Allen, TX 75013
|TransUnion Credit Freeze, P.O. Box 160, Woodlyn, PA 19094
Individuals may further educate themselves regarding identity theft, fraud alerts, credit freezes, and the steps they can take to protect their personal information by contacting the consumer reporting bureaus, the Federal Trade Commission, or their state Attorney General. The Federal Trade Commission may be reached at: 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20580; www.identitytheft.gov; 1-877-ID-THEFT (1-877-438-4338); and TTY: 1-866-653-4261. The Federal Trade Commission also encourages those who discover that their information has been misused to file a complaint with them. Individuals can obtain further information on how to file such a complaint by way of the contact information listed above. Individuals have the right to file a police report if they ever experience identity theft or fraud. Please note that in order to file a report with law enforcement for identity theft, individuals will likely need to provide some proof that they have been a victim. Instances of known or suspected identity theft should also be reported to law enforcement and the appropriate state Attorney General. This notice has not been delayed by law enforcement.