Scam of the day – September 8, 2015 – Company picked to provide identity theft protection for victims of OPM data breach

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) which was hacked by Chinese hackers who stole personal information of more than 21 million present and former federal employees has chosen Identity Theft Guard Solutions to provide  three years of identity theft protections to the victims.  Notifications will be going out from the Defense Department to the victims starting at the end of September and it will take about three months to notify all of the victims.  Also covered by the program will be more than 6 million children whose parent’s information was compromised in the data breach.   When the data breach was initially discovered, the OPM hired another company to provide 18 months of identity theft protection services, however, the company had its website crash and the call center answering questions about the services to be provided often had delays of hours before callers could speak to a representative.

TIPS

If you were a victim of the OPM data breach, you should be on the lookout for notification from the Defense Department with information about how to apply for benefits under the program.  However, it is important to remember that no identity theft protection company can prevent you from becoming a victim of identity theft.  The best they can do is notify you earlier that you have become a victim.  None of the identity theft protection companies help you with the one best step you can take to protect yourself from identity theft which is to put a credit freeze on your credit report.  With a credit freeze on your credit report, even if someone has your personal information including your Social Security number, they cannot access your credit report for purposes of gaining credit or loans in your name.  You can find information about how to put a credit freeze on your credit reports at each of the three major credit reporting agencies by going to the Archives section of Scamicide and putting in the words “credit freeze.”

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