Submitted by Rachel R on Tue, 06/09/2015 - 2:17pm
Government employees at risk of identity theft
Image Source: Jan Willem Geertsma
Last week, the Federal government was hit by a sweeping cyberattack that put personal information of more than four million current and former Federal employees at risk. If your data was affected, you will be sent an email from email@example.com between now and June 19, 2015. If the government does not have your email address, they will send a physical letter. If the email you used related to your government employment is not your current email, you should monitor your former email account (if possible) until this window has passed. Here's what you need to know to protect yourself in today's consumer alert.
Lock Down Your Credit Now
If you now work or did work for the government, you should take specific steps to protect your credit and prevent identity theft scams that could damage your credit. You may want to freeze your credit report. In North Carolina, you have a right to place a security freeze on your credit for free. You may first need to file a police report before the freeze can be placed. You can leave it on your credit file permanently or lift it later when you feel the risk has passed. Placing the freeze proactively, particularly if you are notified that your personal information was stolen can prevent false credit being taken out in your name. With a credit freeze in place:
Set Up a Fraud Alert
As an option to freezing your credit, you can set up a fraud alert. To do so, you need to contact just one of the three credit reporting agencies. That agency is required to contact the other two on your behalf. Here's how to set up the fraud alert:
All federal employees affected by the data breach, after the initial notification, the government will provide 18 months of free identity theft insurance and credit monitoring. But also be careful of emails. Scammers may seek to use this breach to perpetrate further fraud by sending you emails alerting you to the “fraud” and providing a link to click. Clicking links in emails like these may install malware on your computer that allows more fraud to occur.
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