The Desert IndependentTM
Serving Blythe and the Desert Regions of the Southwest Since 2001
Riverside County Department of Social Services Privacy Breach
Identity theft protection available to 770 clients potentially impacted by stolen paper files
August 13, 2019
RIVERSIDE COUNTY, Calif – Riverside County’s Department of Public Social Services sent a letter to 770 clients on Wednesday encouraging them to enroll for one year of free credit monitoring after their paper records were stolen during a car burglary.
“We don’t know who stole the records or for what reason,” said Sarah Mack, director of DPSS. “However, we do know this breach represents a concern to each individual whose records were taken and we are determined to help minimize the privacy risks that may arise from this unfortunate incident.”
A supervisor for DPSS Adult Protective Services was transporting the closed-case files from a sheriff’s substation in Palm Desert to be archived in Riverside. The documents were among the items reported stolen from the supervisor’s locked vehicle on July 27 in the city of Riverside. Riverside Police Department is conducting an active investigation.
The stolen files contained reports of elder or dependent adult abuse and included clients’ full name, address, date of birth and social security number. The 770 stolen files represent a tiny fraction of the roughly 1.5 million client records the agency manages annually.
“We apologize to each affected person,” Mack said. She said the incident is under formal administrative review. DPSS is also re-educating employees about existing policies and procedures governing the storage and transfer of client records.
“Protecting sensitive client information is a priority for this organization and we want to ensure that best practices are maintained by all employees at all times,” Mack said.
Most of the stolen records were relating to reports that were filed in the greater Coachella Valley region. In its letter, DPSS urged clients to closely monitor their credit activity and be on the lookout for fraudulent and suspicious activity.
The letter contained information about how to sign up for credit monitoring and access to credit monitoring agencies.
Those whose information has been breached should receive Wednesday’s letter by late Thursday or Friday. However, those who believe they might be impacted or want to know if they have been may call a DPSS representative at (951) 358-3010 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday – Friday. DPSS has also answered questions on a FAQ page. You will find that by clicking here or visiting www.dpss.co.riverside.ca.us
Correspondence may be sent to:
County of Riverside – Department of Public Social Services
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