More than 200 business owners and property owners who rent out their homes on a short-term basis have been told their Social Security numbers might be at risk because of a data breach at the Palm Beach County Tax Collector’s office.
The breached records were not regarding property taxes. The records were only of business tax receipts and tourism development taxes, Tax Collector Anne Gannon said.
The breach, which involved 244 affected parties, occurred as a result of a data file with their information being erroneously attached and shared during a computer backup process.
The breach happened between July 1- 5. Gannon declined to say how the office learned of the breach, citing an ongoing investigation by the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office. Those affected learned of the breach in a letter from the tax collector’s office dated July 23.
No one has reported that their information was misused, Gannon said.
“We are diligently exploring security measures that will prevent this type of event from occurring again,” Gannon said.
The letter to the residents told them to closely monitor their financial accounts and quickly report any unauthorized activity. It also says to contact Equifax, Experian or TransUnion to get a free credit report.
Data breaches, which have roiled nationwide retail chains and financial institutions, are becoming familiar in the county.
Wellington officials were notified in June by a vendor that the city’s online billing system had been breached by an outside party. The village sent notices to about 6,000 potential victims, with officials saying credit card numbers were the target. That breach was part of a larger hit on the vendor’s system, with more than a dozen local governments across the U.S. reporting similar issues.
Staff writer Kristina Webb contributed to this story.