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Many Maryland SSD recipients may have had their privacy violated

Computer hacking and other types of cyber crime have become some of the most pressing concerns for American businesses, institutions and everyday citizens. Despite our attempts to keep personal information private and secure, hackers have recently proven that they are able to break through the online security systems of stores like Target and that they are able to obtain banking information and Social Security numbers for millions of Americans.

Over a 10-day period last October, hackers may have also made off with sensitive data concerning nearly 10,000 Marylanders with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Many of these individuals receive Social Security Disability benefits and other government aid.

What makes this breach especially concerning is the fact the individuals who had their information stolen may not be able to monitor their own bank accounts for signs of theft. Many have their finances managed for them by family members and caregivers who are overly busy as it is.

If you are the caregiver or family member of a person with intellectual or developmental disabilities, it may be necessary to pay especially close attention to their bank accounts and other financial information over the next weeks and months. Any suspicious activity should be reported to both an attorney and to the proper authorities.

The U.S. Department of Justice and FBI both took part of the investigation and at least one arrest has been made. It is unclear at this point how many suspects there are and if more arrests will be made in the future. Hopefully, the hackers will be stopped before they attempt to again take advantage of an already vulnerable population of Americans.

Source: The Baltimore Sun, “Names, Social Security numbers of 9,700 Marylanders with disabilities exposed in hacking,” Scott Dance and Colin Campbell, March 17, 2014

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