American Optometric Association Asks Feds to Investigate Identity Thefts


The request comes in a letter to the U.S. attorney general.

The American Optometric Association is calling for further Department of Justice investigation into the recent data breach in the profession.

The organization wrote in an Oct. 13 letter to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch that it “respectfully requests that the Department of Justice, acting through the Federal Bureau of Investigation, pursue an investigation to identify the data thieves responsible for this criminal act.”

Optometrists and optometry students were apparently targeted in the summer in a nationwide data breach, with doctors and students getting unsolicited Chase Amazon cards or denial letters.

The AOA wrote on its website that the optometry profession “deserves to know the source of this breach and be assured that steps are being taken to eliminate the chance of this occurring again.”

Following initial reports of unsolicited, fraudulent applications for Chase Visa cards on and around Aug. 2, the AOA contacted the FBI and Federal Trade Commission to apprise investigators, according to the article.

In an Oct. 8, the AOA Board of Trustees encouraged optometric organizations to take immediate steps to meet recognized standards for data security. The group called for a united effort by AOA, affiliates and others, asking each to petition optometric testing organizations, including the National Board of Examiners in Optometry (NBEO), and state boards of optometry to eliminate the use of social security numbers as personal identifiers.

The AOA noted that no breach of its own systems occurred and that it does not gather social security numbers through its membership process.

Read more from the AOA.