• FEMA privacy breach affects 2.5 million people who were eligible for temporary housing

    By: Angela Jacobs , Katlyn Brieskorn

    Updated:

    ORLANDO, Fla. - The Federal Emergency Management Agency has sent millions of letters to survivors of natural disasters, including Hurricane Irma, to warn them that they are victims of a massive privacy breach.

    The breach affects anyone who applied and was eligible for temporary housing assistance between 2008 and 2018. 

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    In the letter, FEMA said those affected applied for transitional sheltering assistance, which reimbursed hotel costs for survivors who couldn’t immediately return home after a disaster, including victims of Hurricane Irma. 

    FEMA said it overshared the address information of 2.5 million individuals with one of its contractors. 
    And of those 2.5 million, approximately 1.8 million had their banking information overshared.

    FEMA now provides direct payments to hotels, so this specific housing program has not been used in more than a decade.

    Since 2008, personal details were unnecessarily exposed.

    FEMA discovered the breach during an ongoing audit and said all information has been removed from the contractor’s system.

    The agency has not found any evidence any overshared information was compromised.

    FEMA is providing 18 months of free credit monitoring for those affected. 

    If you were affected, FEMA said you can sign up for free credit monitoring by calling 1-833-300-6934 or by visiting the webpage online, using the redemption code at the upper right-hand corner of the first page of this letter.

     


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