Auto insurer GEICO recently reported that fraudsters have been stealing license numbers of its customers for the past few months and possibly using them to fraudulently apply for unemployment benefits.
In a data breach notification filed with California’s data privacy agency on April 15, the major auto insurer indicated that the breaches occurred between January 21, 2021 and March 1, 2021.
The hackers gained access to driver’s license information through the insurer’s online sales system. GEICO said the data obtained was limited to license numbers.
“We have reason to believe that this information could be used to fraudulently apply for unemployment benefits in your name,” the GEICO notice dated April 9 told customers. “If you receive any mailings from your state’s unemployment agency/department, please review them carefully and contact that agency/department if there is any chance fraud is being committed.”
The notice does not indicate how many policyholders or what states might have been affected.
GEICO did not respond to a request for more information.
GEICO said it secured the affected website and worked to identify the root cause as soon as it learned of the incident. It has also implemented additional security measures to help prevent future fraud and illegal activities on its website.
The insurer is offering a one-year subscription to IdentityForce, an identity theft protection service that includes $1 million identity theft insurance.
The Internal Revenue Service has reported that multiple states have experienced a surge in fraudulent unemployment claims filed by organized crime rings. Last week, IRS Commissioner Charles P. Rettig told the Senate Finance Committee that the IRS is working to alert taxpayers to the identity theft scam. “There have been instances of criminals using stolen identities to fraudulently apply for and receive unemployment compensation,” he told senators.
On March 21, 2021, commercial lines insurer CNA determined that it sustained a cybersecurity attack. The attack caused a network disruption and impacted certain CNA systems. As of April 12, CNA said most systems had been restored and an investigation into whether any policyholder or company data has been affected is continuing.
*This story ran previously in our sister publication Insurance Journal.