NOTICE OF DATA BREACH

HearUSA South Bay Center in Torrance, California – December 22, 2020

NOTICE OF DATA BREACH

HearUSA South Bay Center in Torrance, California – December 22, 2020

This notice is regarding a privacy incident that may have involved some customers’ personal information located at Audiology Distribution’s HearUSA South Bay Center, located at 3525 Pacific Coast Highway, Torrance, California 90505 (hereinafter “HearUSA”).  We are sending notice letters to affected individuals which provide more information and offer credit monitoring at no cost to them.  Through this courtesy notice, we are also trying to reach (1) any additional HearUSA customers who may have paid cash to purchase discounted hearing aids from a former employee at the South Bay location; and (2) customers from the South Bay location whose records may have otherwise been exposed.  Please read further for additional information and how you can reach us.  Thank you.

What Happened?

Based on our investigation, which commenced on or about June 26, 2020, and remains ongoing at this time, we discovered that an individual who previously worked for us at the HearUSA center in South Bay (the “Former Employee”) may have impacted certain customers’ information. While this Former Employee was permitted to access customer information to perform duties while employed, the Former Employee was not authorized to use the information for the Former Employee’s own purposes. We promptly terminated the Former Employee as these issues came to light. 

In particular, we have a sufficient reason to believe that the Former Employee may have inappropriately used certain customers’ information during his employment at HearUSA, including (1) ordering hearing aids using certain customers’ records without authorization and charging it to other individuals’ credit cards, and (2) selling unauthorized hearing aids to certain customers in return for a discounted cash payment. We believe such conduct may have occurred during the time period of at least August 2019 to June 26, 2020.

We did not become aware of these actions until the Former Employee was terminated for other activities on June 26, 2020, and we began the investigation.  After the Former Employee was terminated, during June 26 to July 1, 2020, despite that adequate security measures were taken, the HearUSA South Bay Center was broken into and customers’ paper records appear to have been ransacked.  We promptly moved the files to another Center to ensure safety and have tried to identify the customers whose records may have been impacted by the break-ins but we have been unable to make that determination.  On June 26, 2020, we reported this matter to law enforcement promptly and continued to cooperate with the law enforcement. Our investigation remains ongoing. 

What Information Was Impacted?

The Former Employee could have had access to the following pieces of personal information: customer’s name, home address, telephone number, email address, internal customer ID/account number, name/type of hearing aid and hearing enhancement product if any, hearing screening results, diagnosis, date of birth, health insurance/government payor information, social security number, and payment card/financial account information.

What We Are Doing?

The privacy of our previous and current HearUSA customers at our South Bay location is important to us.  We apologize for any inconvenience or concern that this incident may cause, and our investigation remains ongoing.  We have been working with law enforcement and engaged in an investigation to determine what happened and who was affected.  Our efforts have been impaired by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, ransacking of the facility, transfer of the files and temporary closure of the Center, staff changes and furloughs, and lack of cooperation by the Former Employee.  In addition, we were not aware that certain customers were impacted until the improperly ordered hearing aids were shipped to the Center, and the hearing aids purchased for cash were brought in by customers for repair.  We continue to receive these repair requests, with the most recent request occurring on November 12, 2020.  Please note that we have cancelled any pending hearing aid orders that we determined were inappropriately generated by the Former Employee and we replaced the hearing aids of customers who purchased unauthorized hearing aids for cash who we became aware of.  There may be other orders and sales that we do not know about and therefore, our investigation is ongoing. 

What You Can Do?

We encourage current and former HearUSA customers from our South Bay location (or their authorized representatives) to check account statements, bills, Explanation of Benefits, invoices and other notices. If you see anything suspicious or unusual (regarding hearing aids or other items), please report that to the insurance company and/or credit card company involved and also let us know at the below number.

We take our responsibility to safeguard customers’ personal information seriously, and we have taken several steps to help mitigate the risk of future incidents. 

For More Information.

For assistance regarding a particular charge or a claim, or if you have questions about a particular HearUSA hearing aid or if would like further information about this incident, please contact HearUSA toll-free at 855-203-5917 (9 am ET -5 pm ET on Monday to Friday) and ask for Carrie Hall or email us at carrie.hall@wsa.com.

Call 844-339-1726 for your FREE hearing screening

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