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Posted On April 14, 2022 Consumer Privacy & Data Breaches,Personal Injury

Data Breach Alert: WellStar Health System

NOTICE: If you received a NOTICE OF DATA BREACH letter from WellStar Health System, contact the attorneys at Console & Associates at (866) 778-5500 to discuss your legal options, or submit a confidential Case Evaluation form here.

Data Breach AlertOn April 8, 2022, WellStar Health System filed notice of a data breach impacting the protected health information of certain patients. Evidently, the company was the target of an email phishing attack, resulting in two employees providing their login credentials to an unauthorized party.

It is essential those who receive a data breach notification from WellStar Health System understand what is at risk. The data breach lawyers at Console & Associates, P.C. are actively investigating the WellStar Health System data breach. As a part of our investigation, we are providing free consultations to anyone affected by the breach who is interested in learning more about the risks of identity theft, what they can do to protect themselves, and what their legal options may be to obtain compensation from WellStar Health System.

In 2021, there were 1,862 data breaches affecting more than 189,000,000 individuals. Victims of identity theft spend, on average, 200 hours and more than $1,300 recovering their identity. Many of these victims also suffer credit damage, emotional distress, and may even end up with a criminal record. Taking immediate action is the best way to prevent the worst consequences of a data breach.

What We Know So Far About the WellStar Health System Breach

According to an official filing by the company, WellStar was the target of an email phishing attack resulting in two employees providing their log-in credentials to the hacker. Once WellStar learned of the attack, the company disabled the affected email accounts and sought to determine the scope of the incident. On February 7, 2022, WellStar learned that an unauthorized party was able to access one or more employee email accounts between December 6, 2021 and January 3, 2022.  The company also confirmed that certain patients’ protected health information was contained accessible through the affected email accounts.

Upon learning of the extent of the security breach, WellStar Health System then reviewed the affected files to determine exactly what information was compromised. While the compromised information varies based on the individual, it may include your name, medical record number, WellStar account number, and a clinical description of a laboratory test and result that was ordered by your provider.

On April 8, 2022, WellStar Health System began sending out data breach notification letters to all individuals whose information was compromised as a result of the recent data security incident.

WellStar Health System is a not-for-profit healthcare system located in Marietta, Georgia and serves the Atlanta metropolitan area. The WellStar Health System network includes 11 hospitals, 10 emergency departments, 9 cancer centers, 3 hospice facilities, and more than 300 medical office locations. WellStar Health System employs more than 25,000 people and generates approximately $3 billion in annual revenue.

Can Consumers Whose Data Was Leaked Pursue Legal Action Against a Company?

When you allowed WellStar Health access to your personal data, you trusted the company to keep your sensitive information safe. However, news of the WellStar Health data breach raises some very serious questions about the company’s data security measures and whether the company could have done more to prevent this type of cyber-attack.

Regardless of the industry, all businesses have a legal obligation to protect consumer information in their possession. Although creating and maintaining a data security system is costly, this is a necessary expense given the frequency with which cyberattacks occur.

Consumers whose personal, identifying, financial or healthcare-related data was compromised in a data breach can pursue legal action against a company that misused or mishandled their information. However, the investigation into the WellStar Health System breach is only in its beginning phases. For that reason, it is too early to tell if WellStar Health was legally responsible for the breach. However, our data breach attorneys are investigating the WellStar Health System security breach to determine the potential legal remedies of those affected.

If you have questions about your ability to pursue a data breach class action lawsuit against WellStar Health, contact a data breach attorney as soon as possible.

What to Do If You Received a Data Breach Notification from WellStar Health

If you receive a data breach notification from WellStar Health in the coming weeks, it means your personal data was compromised in the recent cyberattack. It also means a cybercriminal may have had access to—and may have stolen—your personal data. Given the risks involved, it is important you remain vigilant by taking the following steps:

  1. Figure Out What Information Was Stolen: Carefully review the data breach letter sent by WellStar Health, keeping in mind the information you provided to the company as well as the type of data that was compromised in the breach. You should also take a copy of the data breach letter and keep it for your records. Of course, data breach letters are not always easy to understand. A consumer privacy lawyer can help victims of a data breach understand what was compromised and how to protect themselves.
  2. Prevent the Hacker from Accessing Your Accounts: Once you determine the scope of the breach and how it affected you, you should take all steps to prevent cybercriminals from accessing your credit or financial accounts. For example, you should change all passwords and security questions for your online accounts. You should also consider setting up multi-factor authentication where it is available.
  3. Protect Your Credit and Your Financial Accounts: In the wake of a data breach, companies usually provide free credit monitoring services for a specified period of time. This is not a gimmick, and you do not give up any rights by taking a company up on their offer. Additionally, you should contact one of the three main credit bureaus to request a copy of your credit report. Even if you do not notice any signs of fraud or unauthorized activity, it is a good idea to request a fraud alert. Fraud alerts are free and serve as a red flag to potential lenders and creditors that your information was compromised.
  4. Consider a Credit Freeze: A credit freeze prevents access to your credit report unless you specifically authorize it. Credit freezes are free and last until you remove them. While placing a credit freeze on your accounts may initially seem like a drastic measure, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center (“ITRC”), doing so is the “single most effective way to prevent a new credit/financial account from being opened.” However, ITRC reports that just 3% of consumers whose information is leaked place a freeze on their accounts. Once a credit freeze is in place, you can temporarily lift the freeze if you need to apply for any type of credit.
  5. Regularly Monitor Your Credit Report and Financial Accounts: Protecting yourself in the wake of a data breach is not a one-time task. You should continually monitor your credit report and all financial accounts, keeping an eye out for any signs of unauthorized activity or fraud. You may also consider calling your banks and credit card companies to report the fact that your information was compromised in a data breach.

If You Have Questions About Your Rights Following the WellStar Health System Data Breach, Console & Associates, P.C. Can Help

At Console & Associates, P.C., our consumer privacy lawyers monitor all security and data breaches to help affected consumers pursue their legal remedies. We offer free consultations to victims of data breaches and can explain your rights in clear, understandable terms so you can make an informed decision about how to proceed with your case. If you’ve been affected by the WellStar Health data breach or any other data security incident, Console & Associates, P.C., will investigate your case at no charge and offer you thorough advice about how to most effectively proceed with your case. If you decide to bring a case, we only get paid if you do. If your claim is successful, any legal fees are either paid by the defendant or come out of the funds recovered from the defendant. If your claim doesn’t result in a recovery, you will pay nothing.

To schedule your free consultation, just call (866) 778-5500 today or fill out our secure contact form.


NOTICE: If you received a NOTICE OF DATA BREACH letter from WellStar Health System, contact the attorneys at Console & Associates at (866) 778-5500 to discuss your legal options, or submit a confidential Case Evaluation form here.