TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A data breach that’s impacting more than 1 million people in the Tampa Bay area may be linked to a Russian gang, authorities said.
The State Department is offering a $10 million reward for information about the Clop ransomware group who they believe is behind a wave of attacks on personal information.
Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, Tampa General Hospital, HCA Hospitals and Hillsborough County were all hit by the breach, which is affecting consumers in the Tampa Bay region.
Eric Olsen with Hillsborough County Consumer Protection Services says people need to keep a close eye on their personal data to protect themselves.
“Well, if you’ve had a compromise that’s known, you have to be on alert because something might not happen today, but it might happen a few months down the road and so credit monitoring is so that just in case that does happen you are aware,” said Olsen.
The data breach has exposed the names, phone numbers, email addresses, and social security numbers of people affected.
Security experts say that with this information, thieves can open credit cards and other lines of credit in someone’s name and potentially make them liable for large bills. Olsen says that’s why it’s important to monitor your credit.
“Consumers can check their credit at annualcreditreport.com and open any of the free, there’s three credit bureaus and you can check one or all of your credit reports, at least weekly until the end of this year,” said Olsen.
He says some services will offer to monitor your credit for a fee, but he says people should do their homework about those companies before they sign up.
“We would urge consumers to look into those companies, especially if they are going to have a monthly fee associated with it before they make a decision,” said Olsen.