BERKELEY (CBS SF) — Nearly 1,000 people taken to hospitals by Berkeley Fire Department crews may have had their personal information stolen by a Florida crime ring, according to a published report.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported the City of Berkeley has begun notifying 931 people that their personal information, including names, dates of birth, and social security numbers may have been stolen from an agency that collects bills for ambulance rides.

Thirteen people were arrested in the Tampa area in connection with the theft ring in September.

Those defendants were suspected of using stolen information to file fake tax returns in the victims’ names, and then collecting refund checks, according to the Chronicle.

The information was believed to have been stolen from Intermedix Inc., a Fort Lauderdale, Florida agency that collects bills from patients taken to hospitals by city ambulances.

The report said the Berkeley Fire Department was one of 27 agencies in 17 states whose patients may have had data stolen.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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