NewsCovering Kern County


Possible data security concerns for county employees

Posted at 11:53 PM, Aug 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-07 02:56:27-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Kern County officials are reporting a possible concern pertaining to employees and their family's personal information.

According to county officials, the personal information of more than 5,000 county employees and their families may have been compromised.

Robin Harkleroad has been a county employee for ten years and has medical coverage with the county through the Legacy Health Plans, the exclusive medical insurance provider for the county.

“By them letting us know we are now forearmed and forewarned,” said Harkleroad

Harkleroad says her identity was stolen a few months back through her bank, and since then she tries to be prepared.

“I am trying to be much more diligent about shredding things and about not filling every form with address, email and telephone number to every solicitation,” Harkleroad said.

She is grateful that the county forewarned her.

“Companies usually don’t disclose when their data has been compromised and they sometimes won’t for a year or so later,” Harkleroad said. “So, I appreciate that they let us know.”

Kern County officials sent out this email Tuesday to all their employees, saying the following in part.

"We have been notified by one of the third-party administrators of our Health Benefits plan of a possible data security incident. The investigation is currently underway by the third-party vendor.”

Megan Person, director of countywide communications, says that there are over 5,000 employees including Kern Medical staff on the Legacy Health plans that may have been impacted.

“If it is determined that that data was compromised, which has not been determined yet,” said Person. “If it is, the affected parties will receive notice directly and receive free credit monitoring service.”

Person adds that there are over 15,000 people, including spouses and children listed on the Legacy Health plans through the county, who all have been notified about the incident this week.

“It was not a county systems or network,” Person said. “So, our county systems are all clear and our county IT staff is keeping a very close eye on that.

One county employee 23ABC spoke to says these situations have become common place in the digital world.

“It can change a person's life having their info taken and I expect these third parties to step up their game and try harder to keep our information private,” said county employee, Hunter Starr.

County officials say that they will know more information in the next few days and are not able to release the name of the third party. As of right now there is no confirmation that any data was compromised.