Developing story: ODs targeted for credit fraud

August 2, 2016

Optometrists and optometry students are receiving unsolicited Chase Amazon credit cards in the mail. In addition, optometrists and students have been notified of fraud alerts by credit monitoring services.

Optometrists and optometry students are receiving unsolicited Chase Amazon credit cards in the mail. In addition, optometrists and students have been notified of fraud alerts by credit monitoring services.

At this time, the source of the breach is unknown.

If you suspect that a Chase Amazon credit card has been fraudulently opened in your name, contact Chase customer service. Call 1-800-432-3117 or visit Chase’s website: https://www.chase.com/credit-cards/customer-service

All three credit reporting agencies-Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion-allow consumers to check their credit reports for free once per year.

Contact them here:

•   Equifax: www.equifax.com/home/en_us  or 1-866-349-5191

•   Experian: www.experian.com or 1-888-397-3742

•  TransUnion: www.transunion.com or 1-800-916-8800

How did it happen?

Speculation is that an optometric organization had a data breach. The fact that students have been victims of the fraud narrows the possibilities.

The American Optometric Association (AOA), the American Academy of Optometry (AAO), the Association for Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO), and National Board of Examiners in Optometry (NBEO) have confirmed that their databases have not been breached.

 

In a statement, the AOA says, “We investigated our databases and can confirm that AOA is not the source of the breach. Our members should feel assured that AOA employs stringent cybersecurity measures to protect your personal information. In addition, the AOA does not gather or store Social Security numbers in our membership records.

In a statement sent to AAO members, the organization says that Social Security numbers are not stored in registration or membership databases.

“Both the Academy and our database vendor follow the strictest payment card industry (PCI) compliance practices and take our data security very seriously. Furthermore, this breach has affected many individuals who do not have records in our database.”

In a statement, the NBEO says there is no evidence that the National Board’s database was hacked.

“After a thorough investigation and extensive discussions with involved parties, the NBEO has concluded that our information systems have not been compromised.”

NBEO CEO Jack Terry, OD, PhD, FAAO, says he understands that fraud victims are having credit card numbers and Social Security numbers hacked. NBEO does not keep a database of credit card numbers when paying for exams, he says, and going through their records, there is no indication that Social Security numbers were hacked. Such data is collected only when students or ODs register for National Board exams. ASCO executive director Dawn Mancuso, MAM, CAE, FASAE, confirmed that the breach didn’t come from an ASCO program.

“We have ruled out our Optometry Admission Test (OAT) exam and Optometry Centralized Application Service (OptomCAS),” she says.

In a statement, ARBO says, “From the preliminary information we’ve gotten, some of the students affected are not in our database, which indicates that ARBO is not the source of the breach. We will continue to investigate this further, but at this point we are confident that our data is secure.”

Chase did not respond to a request for comment.