- At least 200 New Yorkers that applied for unemployment benefits had their personal identifying information “inadvertently” leaked due to a printing mistake at the Department of Labor, a number significantly higher than previously reported earlier this week.
- On Friday, several applicants received emails notifying them that their information may have been compromised, along with an offer for a free year of credit monitoring.
- “It’s messed up. Companies get sued for millions of dollars for this type of thing,” Cory Post, a Buffalo resident who received someone else’s personal information, told Business Insider.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
After waiting a month to hear about the status of his unemployment application, Corey Post was relieved when he finally found a letter in his mailbox from the New York Department of Labor this week.
That was, until he opened the letter and saw it contained someone else’s personal information.
Post, a resident of Buffalo, New York, is one of at least 200 New Yorkers who accidentally received incorrect forms from the organization this week, according to a source close to the matter and confirmed by New York State Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon in a press conference on Friday.
The glitch — which the source said was caused by a faulty printer that caused papers to stick together in a batch of mailers — has led to statewide leaks of personal social security numbers, addresses, and other identifiable information.
In response, the Department of Labor sent an email to unemployment applicants on Friday notifying them of the possible breach. In the note, the organization said it will offer free credit monitoring for a year “out of an abundance of caution and concern for the integrity of your personal and confidential information.”
“In late April 2020, we discovered an issue with mailing that may have affected you,” the email, which was obtained by Business Insider, reads. “A letter containing your personally identifiable information may have been inadvertently included in an envelope addressed to another person.”
Upon receiving the email on Friday, several confused and angry New Yorkers took to Twitter to share their concerns and grievances.
—K Chiucarello (@_kc_kc_kc_) May 1, 2020
—Joey Price (@beardzoid) May 1, 2020
—Keara Benton (@keara_benton) May 1, 2020
“It is unacceptable at any time but especially during this horrendous crisis,” Reardon said in the press conference. “People are anxious, we don’t want to make this worse for them. ”
The glitch comes as an estimated 1.2 million New Yorkers filed for unemployment benefits, with 400,000 of them still awaiting processing, according to Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa. At a press conference earlier this week, DeRosa estimated that the mix-up had impacted only three dozen people at the time, noting it was a “human error” that “wasn’t malicious.”
Ultimately, Post said the free year of free credit monitoring was too little, too late, adding that he is worried about longer term issues with privacy leaks.
“It’s messed up,” he said. “Companies get sued for millions of dollars for this type of thing.”