Most of the clients who are treated at Heritage received the letter. It informed them the state may soon cut off funding for their care. "It's insult to injury to not only say, we're going to take away your services, which is going to make you more debilitated, but by the way, we just exposed your Social Security Number to everybody," said Maloney.
Doug Broten, the president of the Central California Better Business Bureau, warns the envelope information is all a criminal needs to apply for credit in your name. Broten says the seniors and mentally disabled should contact credit reporting agencies to have them put a fraud alert on their credit report. "If there is a good news side to this, it's using old technology, snail mail, you can only compromise one at a time. You can't do tens of thousands of them. The bad new to it is obviously, it's a vulnerable population that shouldn't have happened. It's just stupid for this to have happened," said Broten.
The D.H.C.S. apologized for the error Monday and has already sent another letter to recipients to notify them about the privacy breach. So far they haven't received reports of any identity theft resulting from the mistake.