The Medical University of South Carolina is notifying approximately 7,000 individuals that hackers stole credit card information.

Individuals during the first week of September were receiving automated telephone calls alerting them to the theft, with mailing of formal patient notification letters expected to start around Sept. 9, according to a spokesperson. Affected individuals will receive one year of paid fraud protection services from Experian.

MUSC was notified on August 22 by its contracted credit card processing firm, Blackhawk Consulting Group, that the firm had been hacked. “Based on the information available now, no patient medical record information was accessed during the theft,” according to a MUSC statement. “It seems the goal of the intrusion was to steal financial information which included names, billing addresses, credit card numbers and expiration dates, credit card authorization numbers and email addresses.

Hackers took information when patients or other financially responsible individuals made payments online and via phone or mail between June 30, 2013 and August 21, 2013. Blackhawk has reported the theft to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and will pay for the Experian services.

The Post & Courier newspaper in Charleston reports that two other Blackhawk clients were victimized, affecting about 3,000 additional individuals. Patrick Cawley, M.D., executive medical director and chief medical officer of the Medical University Hospital, told the newspaper that MUSC is satisfied with how Blackhawk is responding and has no immediate plans to terminate the contract.

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