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.
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.
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