8,000 patient records stolen from Family Care Center on Whidbey; identity theft feared
June 21, 2010 · Updated 8:31 AM
KEN’S KORNER — If you are, or have ever been, a patient at the Family Care Center physical therapy clinic, call your bank.
That’s the advice of owner Jim Christensen, after discovering that more than
8,000 of his patients’ names had been stolen during a burglary last weekend. The list includes patient accounts from his operations in Clinton, Freeland and Oak Harbor
“All the names were heavily encrypted on the software that was stolen, but we have to assume the worst,” he said. He added that federal privacy rules protect identifiable patient information, and he’s required to notify his clients.
The burglary took place at 2:30 a.m. Saturday,
June 12. Christensen said the double doors into the Ken’s Korner mall area were found unlocked later that morning, and he suspects that’s how the thieves gained access. There was no evidence of forced entry, and neither Christensen nor the mall had installed security cameras
“I’ve never heard of a physical therapy office being broken into before, and this is the first time anything like this has ever happened to me,” he noted.
Apart from a laptop containing patient accounts and a back-up hard drive, $400 was taken from a locked cashbox, a new red WatchGuard firewall device was stolen and several drawers were jimmied open.
“They didn’t really make a mess and knew what they were looking for,” Christensen said.
As to motive, Christensen speculated that the thieves were after money or to steal information on his clients.
Island County Sheriff’s Det. Ed Wallace said no arrests have been made and that the investigation is continuing.
“Anyone who was ever a client should check their credit reports to make sure no one is using the stolen data to obtain loans or credit cards,” Wallace said. “Or any unauthorized activity, for that matter.”
Since the break-in, Christensen has installed security cameras to guard against future incidents.
“This needs to be a wake-up call for all sorts of clinics on Whidbey Island,” he said. “This could happen to anyone.”