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Notary Bulletin

The Consequences Of Failing To Protect Patient Information

Failing to protect Social Security numbers and other sensitive signer information from public exposure can bring serious consequences — as a major healthcare insurance provider found out this month after settling a breach of privacy lawsuit.

In this case, Anthem Blue Cross agreed to pay $150,000 after California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris filed a suit claiming the health insurance giant mailed letters printed with Social Security numbers to 33,000 Medicare subscribers. The company notified affected members of the breach and as part of the settlement agreed to implement new employee training and technical safeguards to its data management system to prevent further breaches.

Protecting patient information extends even to entries in a Notary’s journal. Beyond keeping the journal secure and in your control at all times, it’s important keep abreast of what you can or cannot record.

The information that can go into a record in a journal is different in each state. For example, Massachusetts and Rhode Island Notaries are not allowed to record Social Security numbers or credit card numbers in a journal. Texas prohibits Notaries from entering any ID number that could identify the signer, grantor or maker of a document, including driver’s license numbers or a Social Security numbers.

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