HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Over 57,000 unemployment accounts have been connected to a Florida Department of Economic Opportunity data breach.

According to the DEO, it learned of the breach with its online unemployment benefit system, called CONNECT, on July 16.

“Information contained in the claimant account may have been accessed, including the following: social security number, driver’s license number, bank account numbers, claim information, and other personal details, such as address, phone number, and date of birth,” the department said in a release. “In addition, the malicious actors may have acquired the account PIN that claimants use to access their CONNECT account.”

The DEO says a total of 57,920 claimant accounts were targeted sometime between April 27 and July 16 and may have been “accessed by an unauthorized party.”

In response, the department has done the following: 

  • Locked accounts targeted by this activity
  • Improved PIN security controls
  • Enhanced network security controls
  • Notified impacted claimants
  • Notified the Department of Legal Affairs, Department of Management Services, including the Division of State Technology, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement
  • Reported impacted accounts to the three U.S. credit reporting agencies
  • Purchased a year’s subscription of identity protection services for affected claimants

Those affected by the breach are being asked to monitor their financial accounts and report any unauthorized activity.

“Claimants may contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) by calling 1-877-ID-THEFT (1-877-438-4338) or online at www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/. The Department is also recommending claimants to contact the three U.S. credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) to obtain a free credit report from each by calling 1-877-322-8228 or by logging onto www.annualcreditreport.com,” the DEO said in a release.

This isn’t the first time a data breach has occurred for the department, however. In May 2020, 8 On Your Side learned that the names and social security numbers of nearly a hundred unemployment applicants were compromised when a DEO staffer sent an email to the wrong recipient a month prior.