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Mailer Exposes Private Information

February 2008
MADISON, WI—For the second time in a little more than a year, the social security numbers of Wisconsin residents have been exposed in a government mailing. The state Department of Health and Family Services sent 260,000 brochures to Medicaid, SeniorCare and BadgerCare recipients, with mailing labels including their social security numbers.

According to the Associated Press, the vendor that performed the job, Electronic Data Systems (EDS) of Plano, TX, has set up a hotline and is offering the recipients a year’s worth of credit monitoring.

“People are getting unnecessarily alarmed here,” Bill Ritz, a spokesman for Electronic Data Systems, told the AP. “There has been no theft of the information so far.”

The EDS call center was reportedly deluged with calls from anxious citizens. One woman told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel she waited an hour-plus on the phone before her call was transferred, upon which she was then disconnected.

Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle has ordered all state agencies to review their data security procedures.
 

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