SEATTLE (May 25, 2022) – Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, which is now known as Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center (or Fred Hutch), today announced that someone outside of the organization temporarily accessed an employee email account without authorization from March 25 to March 26, 2022. Upon learning of the situation on March 26, Fred Hutch promptly contained the incident by securing the account to prevent further access and began an initial internal investigation into the incident. Fred Hutch also retained a leading forensic security firm to further investigate the incident and confirm the security of its computer systems. Fred Hutch has notified federal law enforcement of the incident.
As part of its investigation, Fred Hutch has reviewed and is continuing to review the contents of the email account. As part of that review process, we determined the account contained certain individuals’ protected health information and/or personal information. The information in the email account varied by individual but included certain individuals’ names, addresses, Social Security numbers, financial account information, medical information and/or health insurance information.
To date, there is no indication of any identity theft or fraud occurring as a result of this incident; however, as a precautionary measure, Fred Hutch has begun notifying potentially involved individuals directly via physical mail.
Fred Hutch is taking steps to help prevent a similar incident from occurring, including reviewing its technical controls, policies and procedures. We recommend individuals remain vigilant to protect against potential fraud and/or identity theft by, among other things, reviewing their account statements, monitoring their credit reports closely and notifying their financial institutions if unusual activity is detected.
Fred Hutch also recommends that individuals promptly report any fraudulent activity or suspected identity theft to proper law enforcement authorities, including the police and their state’s attorney general. Individuals may also wish to review the tips provided by the Federal Trade Commission (or FTC) on fraud alerts, security/credit freezes and steps that they can take to avoid identity theft.
For more information and to contact the FTC, please visit https://www.identitytheft.gov/#/ or call 1-877-ID-THEFT (1-877-438-4338). Individuals may also write: Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20580.
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center (“Fred Hutch”) is an independent, nonprofit, unified adult cancer care and research center that is clinically integrated with UW Medicine, a world leader in clinical care, research and learning. Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center was created in April 2022 by the merger of long-time partners, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. Together, our fully integrated research and clinical care teams seek to discover new cures for the world’s deadliest diseases and make life beyond cancer a reality.
The first National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center in the Pacific Northwest, Fred Hutch’s global leadership in bone marrow transplantation, HIV/AIDS, immunotherapy and COVID-19 has confirmed our reputation as one of the world’s leading cancer, infectious disease and biomedical research centers. Based in Seattle, Fred Hutch operates eight clinical care sites that provide medical oncology, infusion, radiation, proton therapy and related services, and has network affiliations with hospitals in five states.
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