Nearly 58,000 unemployment accounts in Florida targeted by cyber thieves

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The Department of Economic Opportunity says there was a data security incident involving potentially fraudulent activity connected to claimant accounts within the Reemployment Assistance Claims and Benefits Information System, commonly known as CONNECT.

According to DEO Spokesperson Andrew Nixon, the information contained in the claimant account may have been accessed, including the following: social security number, driver’s license number, bank account numbers, claim information, and other personal details.

Nixon told News 6 the DEO discovered malicious actors were targeting claimant accounts via the CONNECT public claimant portal. A total of 57,920 claimant accounts were targeted. These targeted accounts may have been accessed by an unauthorized party. This activity may have occurred between April 27, 2021, and July 16, 2021. There is no evidence of any other unauthorized access and no indication of related malicious activity on the department’s internal networks.

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In response, the department has:

  • Locked accounts targeted by this activity
  • Improved PIN security controls
  • Enhanced network security controls
  • Notified impacted claimants
  • Notified the Department of Legal Affairs, Department of Management Services, including the Division of State Technology, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement;
  • Reported impacted accounts to the three U.S. credit reporting agencies; and
  • Purchased a year’s subscription of identity protection services for affected claimants.

The department is recommending that the impacted claimants monitor their financial accounts, and if they see any unauthorized activity, they should promptly contact their financial institution. Claimants may contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) by calling 1-877-ID-THEFT (1-877-438-4338) or online at www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/. The department is also recommending claimants to contact the three U.S. credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) to obtain a free credit report from each by calling 1-877-322-8228 or by logging onto www.annualcreditreport.com.

If you have an unemployment issue or think you have been impacted by this email makeendsmeet@wkmg.com or text make ends meet to 407-676-7428.


About the Author:

News 6’s Emmy Award-winning Investigative Reporter Mike Holfeld has made Central Florida history with major investigations that have led to new policies, legislative proposals and even -- state and national laws. If you have an issue or story idea, call Mike's office at 407-521-1322.