WASHINGTON — Millions of federal workers are starting to receive notices from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management that their identity may be compromised following the recent data breach.
WNEW has obtained a copy of the letter:
The agency says it takes the responsibility to protect information seriously and regrets the incident.
OPM is offering several ways for federal employees to protect themselves, including free credit monitoring for 18 months and identity theft insurance of $1 million through CSID, a company that specializes in identity theft protection.
Those services are offered as a convenience, but OPM says the letter shouldn’t be interpreted as the agency or the U.S. Government accepting liability.
OPM has issued the following guidance to affected individuals:
–Monitor financial account statements and immediately report any suspicious or unusual activity to financial institutions.
–Request a free credit report at http://www.AnnualCreditReport.com or by calling 1-877-322-8228. Consumers are entitled by law to one free credit report per year from each of the three major credit bureaus – Equifax®, Experian®, and TransUnion® – for a total of three reports every year. Contact information for the credit bureaus can be found on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) website, http://www.ftc.gov.
–Review resources provided on the FTC identity theft website, http://www.identitytheft.gov. The FTC maintains a variety of consumer publications providing comprehensive information on computer intrusions and identity theft.
–You may place a fraud alert on your credit file to let creditors know to contact you before opening a new account in your name. Simply call TransUnion® at 1-800-680-7289 to place this alert. TransUnion® will then notify the other two credit bureaus on your behalf.
How to avoid being a victim:
–Be suspicious of unsolicited phone calls, visits, or email messages from individuals asking about employees or other internal information. If an unknown individual claims to be from a legitimate organization, try to verify his or her identity directly with the company.
–Do not provide personal information or information about your organization, including its structure or networks, unless you are certain of a person’s authority to have the information.
–Do not reveal personal or financial information in email, and do not respond to email solicitations for this information. This includes following links sent in email.
–Do not send sensitive information over the Internet before checking a website’s security (for more information, see Protecting Your Privacy, http://www.us-cert.gov/ncas/tips/ST04-013).
–Pay attention to the URL of a website. Malicious websites may look identical to a legitimate site, but the URL may use a variation in spelling or a different domain (e.g., .com vs. .net).
–If you are unsure whether an email request is legitimate, try to verify it by contacting the company directly. Do not use contact information provided on a website connected to the request; instead, check previous statements for contact information. Information about known phishing attacks is also available online from groups such as the Anti-Phishing Working Group (http://www.antiphishing.org).
–Install and maintain anti-virus software, firewalls, and email filters to reduce some of this traffic (for more information, see Understanding Firewalls, http://www.us-cert.gov/ncas/tips/ST04-004; Understanding Anti-Virus Software, http://www.us-cert.gov/ncas/tips/ST04-005; and Reducing Spam, http://www.us-cert.gov/ncas/tips/ST04-007).
–Take advantage of any anti-phishing features offered by your email client and web browser.
–Employees should take steps to monitor their personally identifiable information and report any suspected instances of identity theft to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at http://www.ic3.gov.
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