A Vernon woman was shocked to discover her personal health information posted for the world to see after purchasing a medical alert bracelet online.
After a recent medical diagnosis, Leah Luce bought a personalized medical alert bracelet from a third-party seller on Amazon.com.
In addition to her medical conditions, the bracelet included Luce’s name, birthdate and emergency contact information.
Luce said she intentionally picked a design that had most of her personal details printed on the inside of the bracelet. She said she liked the product and even gave it a positive review on Amazon.
A few weeks later, she received a frightening phone call from her physician.
“My doctor had notified me and said you know, she didn't want to scare me," Luce said.
Luce said an employee at her doctor’s office had been shopping for medical bracelets on Amazon and came across Luce’s personal information in some of the photos advertising different medical ID bracelets.
Luce said it took her only a few minutes of searching to find the photos. She immediately called Amazon and said an agent told her the company would investigate. She then received a follow up email from Amazon, which said the company will not be able to release the outcome of its investigation.
Luce also contacted the seller, Personalized Love Jewelry. She said an employee told her the photos would be taken down within an hour. When they were still up the following day, Luce reached out to NBC Connecticut Responds.
NBC Connecticut Responds sent emails to Personalized Love Jewelry and Amazon asking how Luce’s personal information ended up in the photos.
The seller responded almost immediately with an apology and wrote in an email, “I will ask my workmate cover it with mosaics within 24 hours.”
An Amazon spokesperson said in a statement, “All Marketplace sellers are required to follow our selling guidelines and those who do not will be subject to action, including potential removal of their account. The products in question are no longer available.”
The page with the photos that contain Luce’s information is no longer available on the Amazon site.
Luce said she’s lost trust in Amazon and plans to cancel her Prime membership. She hopes telling her story will prevent others from going through a similar ordeal.
Despite the seller revealing her personal health information on the Amazon website, this is not a violation of the federal medical privacy law, known as HIPAA. Only health plans, health clearinghouse and healthcare providers are bound by the law.