ATLANTA – The Georgia Department of Human Services (DHS) has completed an investigation into an improper disposal of confidential case files.

DHS staff in Augusta, Georgia, improperly disposed of boxes of case files containing records from the Department. Some records pertained to individuals who received services from the Division of Family & Children Services (DFCS) prior to June 12, 2017. Other records pertained to individuals who received services from the Division of Aging Services (DAS) prior to 2017 in the following counties: Burke, Columbia, Glascock, Hancock, Jefferson, Jenkins, Lincoln, McDuffie, Richmond, Screven, Taliaferro, Warren, Washington, and Wilkes.

After becoming aware of the improper disposal of case files, DHS took immediate action to retrieve any documents that were at risk of exposure to third parties. DHS has no reason to believe that anyone’s information was accessed or used in a way that would cause harm. DHS is directly contacting any individual known to the Department whose information may have been involved.

“DHS is evaluating the situation and working to ensure all information contained within any files is protected,” said Chris Hempfling, DFCS General Counsel. “It is the Division’s obligation to protect the information of the families we serve, and we are working to resolve this incident as quickly as possible.”

The Department is reviewing policies and procedures to ensure compliance and prevent future occurrences.

DHS has set up a call center the public can contact for more information about how to protect themselves. Individuals can call 1-888-304-1021. The call center will be available from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. until Monday, June 22, 2020.

The Department has also provided instruction to affected individuals on obtaining a free credit report and placing a fraud alert or security freeze on credit files for those who suspect their financial information has been compromised.