The parent company of Northwest Medical Center and Oro Valley Hospital announced that it was the victim of a massive data-breach and customers are urged to take steps to safeguard their identities.
Community Health Systems (CHS), which operates 206 hospitals nationwide, announced that hackers have stolen data for 4.5 million patients. Data that has been compromised is said to include patient names, Social Security numbers, physical addresses, birth dates and telephone numbers.
A representative from Northwest Medical Center stated that no patient medical or financial data was stolen, and that Community Health Systems will be offering all affected patients free identity theft monitoring.
Community Health Systems will notify any Northwest Medical Center or Oro Valley Hospital patients that were affected by mail. Patients with questions about the status of their personal data should contact the hospitals directly.
The data breach is the latest in a string of high-profile data breaches in the past year that have included well-known companies like Target, Stub Hub and Neiman Marcus.
Events like this give cause to remind ourselves to check your credit report regularly. Look at your credit report as often as possible for irregular activity, such as lines of credit or unpaid bills that you don’t recognize. If you see something out of the ordinary contact the credit reporting agency immediately.
Americans are legally entitled to one free credit report each year from each of the big three reporting agencies. Consumers can claim their yearly reports by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com.
It is recommended that if you believe your identity has been compromised consider a credit freeze. A credit freeze will prevent any lender from accessing your credit reports or scores as part of a credit application. If you are a victim of ID Theft or your accounts have been compromised and you have created an Identity Theft Report you can place an extended credit alert on your credit report. An extended alert lasts for 7 years. There may be minimal fees required.