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 is now, as I indicated to you it would in our Scam of the day for September 8th, begun notifying the victims of the massive data breach about the services the government will make available to them for the next three years. It will take about three months for all of the victims to be notified by mail. The notices will also tell you if you were one of the 5.6 million people whose finger print data was also stolen. It is important to remember that the official notice will be coming by regular mail. No email notices will be sent so if you get an email that purports to be from the OPM, it is a scam. The federal government has chosen Identity Theft Guard Solutions to provide three years of identity theft protections to the victims. Also covered by the program will be more than 6 million children whose parent’s information was compromised in the data breach.
If you were a victim of the OPM data breach, you should be on the lookout for notification 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.”