Federal Government Data Breaches and the Rise of Identity Theft

Kellam T. Parks
Managing Member of Parks Zeigler, PLLC

4 Million Federal Workers Are Now At Risk For Identity Theft and Fraud

In case you’ve missed the latest news in data breaches, over 4 million federal workers are now at risk for Identity Theft and Fraud. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) first reported data had been copied and removed from the Office of Personal Management (OPM), which maintains employee human resource records and also conducts background checks for security clearances for nearly 90 percent of government workers.  It is being reported that virtually every agency in the government has been hacked.

Former government employees are also at risk. OPM is offering credit monitoring and identity theft insurance for 18 months to individuals affected. While this could develop into individual fraud cases from criminal activity, the initial thought is that this was not the reason for such a wide scale breach. The breadth and depth of information gathered and stolen is far more than personally identifying information, which is normally what criminals want for fraud and theft.  Instead, experts believe that it is espionage on the part of the Chinese Government.  This would complicate things immensely. 

Don't Wait Until It's Too Late. Here's What You Can Do Now!

You should always monitor your credit, either personally or through a professional service. As part of this monitoring, you need to request, in writing, copies of your credit reports from all three major credit reporting agencies at least every 12 months. Don’t wait until you are turned down for a job, an apartment, a car, or are looking at higher interest rates due to fraud to take action.  We have the form here, just print it out, complete it, and mail it in. If you find incorrect information on any report, call us (or simply click here) and we can assist you in disputing that information.  It is important to dispute the items the right way to both maximize the changes of correcting the information, and also lay the ground work for a lawsuit if necessary to get your credit report cleared up. 

Given the rising statistics of identity theft and fraud, it’s no longer a question of what to do if you become a victim, it’s a question of when and what to do when that happens.  

1 Comments
I would have hoped, and expected there to be a standard of information security from our federal government. However, it seems that everyone needs to have some form of protection, regardless of who they are. Whether the person is a millionaire, or working for a local fast food restaurant. When I first heard about the incident, I immediately started hoping that our federal government would start investigating this immediately. It looks like, however, the power may be in our own hands.
by Simone H June 13, 2015 at 10:47 AM
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