Florida unemployment website hacked, exposing personal details of 58,000 claimants
TALLAHASSEE – Hackers targeting the Florida Unemployment website have potentially stolen the personal data, including Social Security numbers, of nearly 58,000 people.
The Department of Economic Opportunity said on Friday that hackers targeted the site, known as CONNECT, between April 27 and July 16 of this year, violating the personal information of jobless beneficiaries.
The hackers targeted 57,920 applicant accounts, the department said, and they could have obtained social security numbers, driver’s license numbers, bank account numbers, claim information and other personal information, such as addresses, phone numbers and dates of birth.
They could also have stolen PIN codes from users they use to access their accounts, the department said.
The attack was discovered last week. The department recently began notifying affected Floridians of the violation. He did not send a press release, as noted by Miami activist Vanessa Brito, who has helped Floridians navigate the state’s broken unemployment system.
The state did not say whether it knew the identity of the hackers, but said it reported the breach to law enforcement.
The department locked down the accounts of potentially affected users, reported them to the three credit bureaus and purchased a year of identity protection services for them, the department said.
The ministry recommends that affected applicants monitor their financial accounts and, if they notice unauthorized activity, promptly contact their financial institution.
Applicants can contact the Federal Trade Commission by calling 1-877-ID-THEFT (1-877-438-4338) or by going online at www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/. The department also recommends that applicants contact the three US credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) to obtain a free credit report from each by calling 1-877-322-8228 or logging on to www. annualcreditreport.com.
The violation is just the latest headache for Floridians who apply for or receive unemployment insurance through CONNECT. The system was crippled during the pandemic, and over a year later it is still experiencing breakdowns and technical issues that make it difficult to file and receive claims.