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Pharmacy Processor Offers $1M Reward to ID Extortionists

Express Scripts, the nation's third largest pharmacy benefits management company, is offering a $1 million reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the individual(s) responsible for trying to extort money from the company.

The St. Louis-based firm said last week that in early October it received a letter that included the names, birth dates, Social Security numbers and in some cases prescription data on employees from 75 of its customers. The authors also threatened to expose millions of consumer records if the company declined to pay up, Express Scripts said. Express Scripts handles roughly 500 million prescriptions a year for about 50 million Americans.

Since the company has said it has no intention of paying the ransom, the attackers appear to be trying new tactics. Express Scripts said the extortionists have now moved on to directly contacting companies who use their services, by sending letters to the companies, which include personal and medical information of their employees.

Express Scripts spokesman Stephen Littlejohn said the company is still working with the FBI to track down the extortionists, but that there were no new leads to report. He said the new round of extortion demands targeted a "small number of clients and some members for each of those clients," but he declined to disclose how many.

Express Scripts is among the largest pharmacy benefit management firms, which process and pay prescription drug claims. While it doesn't interact with consumers directly, the company's name is printed on prescription cards of health care plans that use its services.

The company has set up a Web site where consumers can go to learn more about the incidents. In announcing the reward today, Express scripts also said it had contracted with Kroll Fraud Solutions, a New York based risk consulting group, to offer consumers free identity restoration services if they become victims of identity theft as a result of these attacks.

Anyone with information about the extortionists can reach the FBI at 800-CALL-FBI.

By Brian Krebs  |  November 11, 2008; 5:46 PM ET
Categories:  Cyber Justice , Fraud , U.S. Government  
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Somebody should learn how to use English. Your headline "Reward TO extortionists" means that Express Scripts intends to pay the extortionists when in fact they are offering the reward to others to try to identify and punish them.

Posted by: iansmccarthy | November 17, 2008 7:41 AM | Report abuse

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