Express Scripts sets $1m reward in data theft
NEW YORK - Express Scripts Inc. posted a $1 million reward for help in catching whoever is trying to extort money from the company by threatening to expose millions of patient records.
The company, the third-largest manager of US drug benefits, also said someone had written to "a small number" of clients and threatened to release members' personal information. The letters were "similar in form" to one the company received last month saying millions of patient records had been compromised, Express Scripts said yesterday.
"We hope that establishing a reward will bring forward useful information," said chief executive George Paz in a statement. "We will do what we can to help find those responsible as quickly as possible."
The initial extortion letter listed Social Security numbers, birth dates, and prescriptions for some of the 75 patients it named, claiming the information had been taken from company computers, Express Scripts said Nov. 6. The new letters "are believed to be connected" to the original threat, the company said.
Express Scripts also said it had hired Kroll Inc., a risk consultant and security firm, to offer "identity restoration" services, including counseling and, if necessary, investigators. The company hasn't decided whether it will offer restitution for monetary losses related to the data theft, said Steve Littlejohn, a company spokesman. Kroll's aid will be free for Express Scripts members who show they have been affected by the extortion, he said.
So far, there's no evidence any of the stolen information has been misused, the benefits manager said.
Express Scripts handles about 500 million prescriptions annually for private employers, unions, and governments, managing benefits for "tens of millions" of people, Littlejohn said.
The company said the FBI is investigating and asked anyone with information about the theft to call the bureau's tip line at 1-800-CALL-FBI.