10 Cents? The Going Rate for a Breached Social Security Number

On November 3, 2018, Inova Health System initiated the process of sending the HIPAA required breach notification letters to nearly 13,000 patients. The scoped of the data breach involving Inova’s billing system included patient names, addresses, birth dates, medical record details and Social Security numbers. Treatment information of a restricted number of patients was also possibly accessed. While many patients are most fearful of their social security numbers being exposed, recent research indicates the value of the SSN is shockingly low on the black market in contrast to the havoc and worry of potential identity theft . According to a Forbes article entitled Your Electronic Medical Records Could be Worth $1000 to hackers, Yao (2017, April 14) states “How much is your life worth to hackers? On the black market, the going rate for your social security number is 10 cents. Your credit card number is worth 25 cents. But your electronic medical health record (EHR) could be worth hundreds or even thousands of dollars.”