South Carolina officials have recently charged a former state employee with six criminal counts in relation to an alleged theft of confidential Medicaid patient information. Christopher Lykes Jr., 36, allegedly stole personal information on more than 225,000 South Carolina state Medicaid recipients. Mr. Lykes had been a project manager with the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, a position that allowed him to access the data. If convicted of all criminal charges, Mr. Lykes may serve up to 10 years in a South Carolina prison.
Officials in South Carolina have sent letters to all the affected individuals notifying them of the data breach. They have all also been provided with a hotline that affected individuals can call for more information.
The loss of Medicaid patient information in South Carolina is similar to a recent Utah security breach that resulted in hackers gaining personal information on almost 1,000,000 Utah Medicaid beneficiaries. Like the Utah breach, the South Carolina case resulted because of the actions of a state employee. Because of this, individual Medicaid patients had no way of preventing the data loss and any resulting identity theft.
Regardless of whether you are personally affected by such data breaches, these cases highlight the need to regularly inspect your credit report for any evidence that someone has stolen your identity and opened fraudulent accounts in your name.