Dozens of Erie County Social Services files lost last year

Local News

News 4 has learned that information on dozens of Erie County Social Services clients was possibly breached in 2017.

Erie County officials say several dozen case filed were lost in two separate instances last year.

It first happened in July, when approximately 60 Adult Protective Services files were lost in the field. Then, in October, about 13 Child Protective Services files were also lost in the field.

It’s unclear exactly how the files were lost.

The Department of Social Services informed affected clients of the breach, and offered them Lifelock identity theft protection services, according to officials.

“Protecting the private information of individuals receiving county services, as well as county protective services workers, is a very high priority of the department,” a Department of Social Services statement said. “Offering Lifelock protection to individuals who may be the victim of the theft of their information ensures that any information that might be stolen cannot be exploited by those who would do harm.”

According to a report from the Erie County Comptroller’s office, the county has spent $879.10 on those Lifelock services so far.

County officials didn’t initially report the breach to the public or to legislators. Information finally came out Thursday during a legislative committee meeting. Some Republicans weren’t happy to be hearing about it for the first time this week.

“The fact still remains that we wouldn’t have found out about this breach if it wasn’t stumbled upon looking at something else,” said Legislator Joseph Lorigo, a Conservative from West Seneca who is the minority leader. “I think the public should be aware something like this may have happened. Certainly, the legislature should be aware something like this happened.

“It wasn’t just one or two people’s information. It was several hundred dollars worth of Lifelock software without any explanation.”

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