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By Remar Sutton, Consumer Spokesperson
In June and July the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) announced two separate data breaches that exposed the personal data of current, former, and prospective Federal employees, contractors, and family members. Those affected include individuals (particularly from 2000 and after) who were seeking certain government jobs and who had applied for a background check. Overall, the breaches may affect as many as 25.7 million people.
According to the OPM news release, the stolen information includes Social Security numbers; residency and educational history; employment history; information about immediate family and other personal and business acquaintances; health, criminal, and financial history, and other details. If you or a family member belongs to a potentially affected group, here are steps you can take to protect yourself. Even if you are not affected, staying vigilant and taking steps to protect your personal and financial information is important
The OPM has sent out notifications to those impacted by the breach announced in June. As of late July, the OPM website indicates that the agency has not yet sent out notifications for those affected by the July announcement. The notices will contain information about identity theft monitoring and restoration services in which you will automatically be enrolled and instructions for enrolling in other services.
Whether you are affected by these breaches or not, you should remain vigilant. Many data breaches at many organizations don’t make the headlines or even the news. Even though breach notification laws exist, notification can take some time. So be proactive.
If you become a victim, these articles detail steps to take to help you recover.
Information about OPM Cybersecurity Incidents includes a description of what happened, how you may be affected, what you can do, what OPM is doing to help, and frequently asked questions.
OPM data breach – what should you do? - from the FTC
IdentityTheft.gov provides a checklist that lists what to do right away, what to do next, and other steps.
The FTC has many Identity Theft resources including information on what to do if you are a victim and how to protect your identity.
The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse has fact sheets, alerts, videos, and quizzes about Identity Theft and Data Breaches.
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