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Security breach compromises credit-card info at Bloomfield medical practice

An online security breach might have compromised the credit-card information of several thousand patients at a Bloomfield-based medical group.

Partners in Nephrology & Endocrinology on Liberty Avenue confirmed the breach on Wednesday. It said someone hacked into a vendor’s systems that process credit-card payments for the specialist practice.

The hacker could have accessed credit-card numbers, card expiration dates and — in some cases — addresses for about 5,000 patients, said practice director Lisa Simonton. She declined to identify the vendor but said the practice doesn’t know of any patients whose credit-card information was misused.

Federal law enforcement officials are reviewing the matter, according to a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Western Pennsylvania.

“We aren’t positive who got what or what was obtained. We’re trying to deal with this with an abundance of caution,” Simonton said.

She said the practice, which treats kidney and glandular ailments, mailed notifications to patients this week. The mailers advise patients to monitor credit card and debit statements for unauthorized charges made on Nov. 12 and later.

Account holders should dispute any fraudulent charges and replace affected cards if any unauthorized activity appears, according to the notifications.

Simonton said the payment vendor issued an initial alert in November with some limited information about problems. The alert prompted an immediate suspension of credit-card activity at the practice. The group also changed its own account numbers and log-in credentials with the vendor before resuming credit-card transactions, she said.

Attorneys for the practice investigated “what had actually happened and what their response needed to be,” Simonton said.

The practice has a dozen locations, including offices in Butler, Westmoreland and Washington counties.

Adam Smeltz is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5676 or [email protected].


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