Polk County Tax Collector data breach exposes 450K driver’s license numbers

Better Call Behnken

LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) – Polk County Tax Collector Joe Tedder says his office was a victim of a data breach that impacted 450,000 people in the county.

Driver’s license numbers may have been accessed, in addition to the social security numbers of anyone who has applied for a business tax receipt, Tedder told Investigative Consumer Reporter Shannon Behnken.

“We believe exposure was very limited,” Tedder said. “We have no evidence that it was misused in any way. We want to let people know out of an abundance of caution to encourage people to monitor their own records and documents as they would under any situation.”

The breach, according to the tax collector’s office, started with an email attachment on June 23 that an employee mistakenly clicked. Embedded was what Tedder called a “brand new virus” that malware software didn’t catch.

That was all it took for a crook to access the office’s database. The forensic investigation concluded July 11.

Tedder said he urges all residents to monitor their credit and account statements, keeping an eye out for anything suspicious.

Starting July 16, you can get more information on the breach by contacting the tax collector’s dedicated assistance line at 1-833-573-0850, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Saturday/Sunday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. 

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