Worker fired over identity thefts
What ever happened to the investigation into alleged misuse of personal information of families by an employee in the Wahiawa Women, Infants and Children Program?
Answer: One employee was fired as a result of an internal investigation into the alleged identity theft within the program, known as WIC, said state Health Director Dr. Chiyome Fukino.
"The individual was terminated in April as a result of our investigation's findings," Fukino said. "The investigation did confirm unauthorized use of client information."
The employee's name has not been released, and the case was turned over to the Honolulu Police Department's Financial Fraud Unit, Fukino added.
Created 30 years ago, the program serves low-income women, infants and children up to the age of 5 by supplying food, nutrition education, breast-feeding support, and health and social service referrals.
The employee was placed on administrative leave on Jan. 18. Authorities said Social Security numbers and other personal information of at least five families participating in the program were misused.
Officials said the employee allegedly accessed information through a database, opened credit card accounts and made unauthorized purchases.
Fukino said the program no longer collects Social Security numbers of WIC clients and has purged all numbers from its databases.
About 11,500 families formerly or currently registered with the Wahiawa unit were notified of the potential ID theft earlier this year. Clients were advised to check credit histories, place fraud alerts on credit card files and notify police of any suspicious activity.
Fukino said another notice will be sent to clients next month urging their continued vigilance in monitoring accounts.
This update was written by Star-Bulletin staff.
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