Breach at Florida’s unemployment system may have exposed personal data

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) on Thursday announced a data breach in the state's unemployment system that may have exposed the personal information of those applying for reemployment assistance.

The state says 99 people were affected. A spokesperson for the DEO said those people have been contacted.

"We have notified individuals that were part of a data security incident associated with Reemployment Assistance claims. This issue was addressed within 1 hour after we became aware of the incident," Paige Landrum said in a statement released late Thursday afternoon. "In an abundance of caution, we are making available identity protection services at no charge to affected individuals."

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For months, there has been problem after problem with the DEO's online system.  News of the breach came as a surprise to one Central Florida lawmaker.

"We had a reporter say, 'Well, what do you think about the DEO breach?'" explained State Sen. Linda Steward, D-Orlando. "'What? We don’t know about the DEO breach!'"

Sen. Stewart learned about it not from state officials but from reporters at a news conference.

The state is advising those impacted to report any unauthorized activity on their financial accounts. The DEO said it had not received any reports of malicious activity.

Sen. Stewart said she plans to get back on the phone with the department on Friday and is working to learn if any of her constituents were impacted.