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Florida agency handling unemployment claims reports data breach

Brief 'data security incident' another black eye for Department of Economic Opportunity
Previously unemployed Floridians head back to work, unable to cancel unemployment benefits
Posted at 4:47 PM, May 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-21 17:07:42-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The Florida agency responsible for overseeing unemployment claims said a data breach affected some applicants for reemployment assistance.

According to a statement Thursday from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, residents impacted by a "data security incident" have been notified.

Florida Department of Economic Opportunity spokeswoman Paige Landrum said the issue was addressed within an hour after becoming aware of the incident. She said the agency, "in an abundance of caution," was making identity protection services available to affected individuals "at no charge" to them and "advised them to report any unauthorized activity on their financial accounts."

"At this time, we have not received any reports of malicious activity," she added.

Landrum didn't say how many people were affected by the breach.

After learning of the data breach, state Sen. Linda Stewart, D-Orlando, sent a letter to Florida Department of Management Services Secretary Jonathan Satter questioning the transparency of the DEO for failing to disclose this information on its website.

The agency has already come under fire for its failures to handle the volume of unemployed Floridians seeking assistance during the coronavirus pandemic.