ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The beleaguered Florida agency handling residents' claims for unemployment confirmed Thursday a data breach had affected some applicants for reemployment assistance.
According to a statement from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, people who were affected by what the agency called a "data security incident" have been notified.
"This issue was addressed within 1 hour after we became aware of the incident," the statement reads. "While the incident was handled within 1 hour, in an abundance of caution, we are making available identity protection services at no charge to affected individuals, and we have also advised them to report any unauthorized activity on their financial accounts."
The agency said it had not received any reports of malicious activity related to the breach.
Later on Thursday a DEO spokesperson confirmed that 98 individuals were affected by the breach and contacted immediately once the department was aware of the incident.
The Department of Economic Opportunity has been under fire for weeks because of a massive backlog of unprocessed claims. In late April, the agency took the system, called CONNECT, offline for a weekend for upgrades and allow the system time to catch up. The online system was so overloaded at one point that the agency had to push people to file claims on paper and mail them in.
This is a developing story. We will provide updates as they become available.