Antifa and Black Lives Matter protests turned riots between May 26 and June 5, 2020, caused data breach of personal health information of 72000 Americans from Walgreens stores
Ever since George Floyd was murdered in Minneapolis Police department custody, the United States has been on a boil. Black Lives Matter protests which were initially peaceful turned violent in many US cities. The rioters looted TV sets, iPhones, gadgets, shoes, and pretty much anything they could lay their hands on.
Similar looters hit nearly 180 Walgreens stores situated in different cities in the United States between 26th May and June 5, 2020. In addition to goods and gadgets, these rioters also stole valuable personal health information (PHI) slips from the stores. In all, at least 72,000 Americans could be impacted by this PHI data breach.
America’s second-largest pharmaceutical chain contacted impacted customers in July to disclose the data breach. Walgreens spokesperson Jim Cohn told the Philadelphia Inquirer that 180 Walgreens stores had been looted but declined to state which specific ones. “As part of a comprehensive investigation and review of the damage, we learned there was also limited unauthorized access to certain patient information at some of these damaged locations,” Cohn said in a statement.
Walgreens said that while paper records and filled prescriptions were swiped by looters, no financial information or Social Security numbers belonging to customers were exposed.
Walgreens is informing each and every affected person through emails. In a breach notification letter dated July 24, Walgreens wrote:
“Sometime between May 26 and June 5 2020, various groups of individuals broke into multiple Walgreens stores and forced entry into the secured pharmacy at select locations, including your preferred Walgreens. Among the many items stolen were certain items containing health-related information — such as filled prescriptions waiting for customer pick up and paper records. Upon learning of the potential compromise of information, Walgreens promptly took steps to close out and re-enter impacted prescriptions in our system to prevent potential fraud regarding the original prescription.”
The information stolen by the rioters includes Walgreens customers’ full name, address, date of birth/age, phone number, email address, balance rewards numbers, and photo ID numbers. It also contains vaccination information along with prescription details and clinical and health plan information.
Walgreens says it is working with the law enforcement agencies to identify the rioters and had taken steps to reverse insurance claims for any stolen filled prescriptions that had already been billed to health plans. Walgreens is offering affected customers one year of credit monitoring free of charge. It has advised all Walgreens customers to “follow-up with your insurance company or the care provider for any items you don’t recognize.”