and Rachel Miller
email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
The Georgia Department of Labor emailed the sensitive information of more than 4,000 residents of Cherokee and Cobb counties to an estimated 1,000 recipients Thursday.
The inadvertent email sent the names and Social Security numbers of 4,457 customers from the GDOL’s Cobb-Cherokee Career Center at 465 Big Shanty Road, on the Kennesaw and Marietta border, said GDOL Communications Director Sam Hall on Friday.
Each of the 1,000 recipients of the email were also on the list of customers of the Marietta center who had their information sent, Hall said.
Hall said the confidential information went out because of an employee’s error at the Cobb-Cherokee Career Center, who intended to send an email to another employee. The worker who made the error has been suspended pending an investigation, Hall said.
The “accidental communication” was identified within 10 minutes, and a second email was sent out asking all recipients to delete the email, Hall said.
“It is important to note that this inadvertent disclosure, while unfortunate, is not a systemic issue,” Hall said. “In a month’s time, the department has hundreds of thousands of pieces of communications that go out to clientele. This is a case of one person making an error. It’s purely human error.”
To correct the error, the Department of Labor will offer free credit monitoring services to each customer who had their information leaked. Hall said GDOL will be contacting each of them by email and postal mail to explain the situation and how to receive the service.
Equifax, headquartered in Atlanta, will assist the residents who are now at risk for identity theft.
Michele Cacdac-Jones, a spokeswoman for Equifax, said compromised personal information can be used to open credit cards under a victim’s name.
“If you are offered free identity protection services after a breach, use them,” Cacdac-Jones said.
A list of tips by Equifax advises customers to check credit reports for incorrect names and addresses that might appear to be clerical errors, but could be hackers opening new lines of credit under that information.
“Identity thieves may not use your personal information right away — sometimes they can take up to a year or more,” Cacdac-Jones said.