The California office of In-Home Supportive Services, which provides health support to elderly and disabled people, reported on Friday that the personal records of some 700,000 caregivers and care recipients were either lost or stolen.
But this data loss was not due to a server breach, or some complex phishing attack—instead, the Social Services office said that Hewlett Packard, which manages the data controlled by the office, notified the IHSS of the breach after a physical package containing microfiche with thousands of entries of payroll data went missing from a damaged package shipped by U.S. Postal Service to the State Compensation Insurance Fund in Riverside, CA.
As the package arrived damaged and incomplete, it’s unclear whether the information was lost or stolen, but the state has launched an internal investigation and notified law enforcement in the hopes of resolving the issue, according to the Los Angeles Times. “The possibly compromised information, dating from October to December 2011, for 375,000 workers included names, Social Security numbers and wages. For 326,000 recipients, state identification numbers may be at risk,” the LA Times reports. The In-Home Supportive Services office is also sending out hundreds of thousands of letters to potentially affected parties.