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Fire Dept. warns of EMS data breach

Commissioner Derrick Sawyer said personal information of about 750 patients was stolen.

IF YOU took an ambulance ride between Feb. 1 and Sept. 4, 2012, the Fire Department wants you to keep a close eye on your bank statement.

Fire Commissioner Derrick Sawyer announced yesterday that an employee of Intermedix, a company in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. that handles billing services for ambulance agencies, handed over sensitive patient information for use in a tax-return fraud scheme.

The data breach was first discovered in 2012, and, at that time, it didn't appear that local EMS data was affected, according to a statement from Sawyer.

However, the Fire Department was notified Feb. 3 that a man in Opa-Locka, Fla., was arrested with a sheet of paper containing "the name, date of birth, Social Security number, date of service, name of the primary health insurer, and the balance due on the account of certain patients" in Philadelphia.

Through its own probe, the Fire Department determined that the personal information of approximately 750 local patients was accessed illegally.

However, Sawyer said, it's unknown if that information was used to file false tax returns, or if additional patients were affected.

The individuals identified through the data breach have been notified by the Fire Department, which is offering them free credit monitoring and fraud-protection service through the IRS.

Other concerned patients may visit for more information.