The US disaster relief agency unnecessarily released sensitive identifiable data, including banking information, of 2.3m disaster survivors to an outside contractor, according to a report by theOffice of Inspector General.
The survivors, who were affected by hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, as well as the 2017 wildfires in California , had provided their information to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema) while applying for transitional sheltering in hotels.
Fema must send some identifying information of survivors to contractors in order to verify disaster survivor eligibility, but in this situation, Fema officials also provided details such as the survivor’s bank, the survivor’s “electronic funds transfer number”, and the “bank transit number”.
Fema violated federal requirements in releasing this information, the report found.
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