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Potential Exposure of WIC Client Information Described

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Scott Olson

An error led to a recent potential online exposure of personal information involving some current and past clients of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program. Wyoming Department of Health spokeswoman Kim Deti says “On October 16 a large data file was sent using the Internet to a WIC business partner for valid reasons, but unfortunately, the information was not properly secured before it was sent.”

Deti says the incident was discovered the next day. Due to the complicated, technical nature of what happened, the program was unable to determine the details until very recently. She says the data involving nearly 12,000 past and present WIC clients enrolled in April 2012 was exposed and could potentially be at risk of being intercepted.  However, she adds they “have no evidence anyone saw or used the information who wasn’t allowed to do so and believe the risk of fraud or identity theft due to the incident is actually quite low.”

No social security numbers or addresses were affected. WIC client data involved included some descriptive information such as birth dates, and some medical details such as pregnancy status. Letters have been mailed to each potentially affected client. A phone line has been established at 1-888-996-9378 for WIC clients who may have questions about what happened and whether they were involved.

Despite the low risk of identity theft or similar harm to those affected, Deti says the program will offer each the opportunity to enroll at no cost in an identity protection service for one year.

Deti says “the WIC program is committed to ensuring the privacy and security of our clients’ information and they are working  to ensure the same thing does not happen in the future by fully investigating what occurred and examining security policies and procedures.”

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