Traverse City Record-Eagle


December 13, 2013

JPMorgan Chase: Job aid recipients' data breached

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Someone may have improperly obtained Social Security numbers and other personal data on up to 8,500 people getting unemployment benefits in Michigan, the state announced Thursday.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. announced Dec. 5 that about 465,000 users of a prepaid cash card may have had their personal information hacked. The bank's UCard is used in corporate or government prepaid benefit programs, such as food stamps, unemployment benefits, or tax refunds.

On Thursday, the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs said that 8,500 of those people are Michigan unemployment benefit recipients.

The department said that JPMorgan Chase notified Michigan's Unemployment Insurance Agency that the personal information on 8,500 Michigan jobless benefits recipients "may have been viewed by an unauthorized party on the bank's servers." The bank said it learned of the breach Sept. 17 and notified law enforcement but didn't inform Michigan unemployment system officials until Dec. 3, the state said in a statement.

"We have worked closely with JP Morgan Chase to share our concern about the delayed notification and to ensure that the state receives immediate notice of future problems," said Dan Lohrmann, the state's chief security officer. "We work around the clock to keep citizen information and data protected, and I feel confident that everyone involved in this event understands the importance of protecting personal information."

The banking company said that those who use a state debit card to receive their benefits may have been affected. It said the security breach happened between mid-July and mid-September.

The personal information that may have been exposed also includes bank account numbers, passwords, home and email addresses and phone numbers, the state Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs said. It said the state was sending out email notices to those affected starting Thursday and said the bank was sending notice by mail.

Unemployment agency Director Shaun Thomas said his agency is "deeply concerned about this incident. We re encouraging our customers to take advantage of the free credit monitoring services that will be provided at Chase's expense."

People whose personal data were compromised can use a credit monitoring service provided by the bank without charge to them, the state said.

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