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Jamie Sheller
Jamie Sheller
Attorney • (800) 883-2299

Consumer Protection: Government Data Breach

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Sheller, P.C. is investigating a data breach by the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) affecting more than 36,000 individuals.

According to a March 31, 2011 report from the SSA’s Office of Inspector General (“OIG”), the SSA erroneously included 36,657 individuals’ names, Social Security numbers, dates of birth, and other information in a publicly available database at various times from May 2007 to April 2010.

The release of the personal information was considered by the OIG to be a breach of privacy leading to an increased risk of identity theft. The OIG noted that the SSA continued to publish the database with knowledge that it sometimes erroneously included confidential information. Two OIG reports on the breach can be viewed by clicking here and here.

The federal Privacy Act provides that government agencies such as the SSA may be liable for statutory damages of $1,000 to each individual for the agency’s willful failure to secure the individual’s personal information. 5 U.S.C. § 552a(g)(4).

The SSA is notifying affected individuals of the breach.

If you or anyone you know has been affected by this breach, and you would like to discuss your legal rights, contact Jamie Sheller, Esq. at Sheller, P.C. at 215-790-7300.