Not all data breaches are caused by hackers breaking into the computers of companies and governmental agencies in an effort to steal personal information that can be used for purposes of identity theft. Sometimes the data breaches that expose personal information of people involved with companies and governmental agencies occurs due to the negligence of those holding the information. This, however, is of little consolation to those people whose personal information has been exposed and made available to people who can then use that information for purposes of identity theft. In October the Georgia Secretary of State’s office mistakenly distributed CDs containing personal data including Social Security numbers and birth dates on 6.2 million registered voters to twelve organizations that regularly purchase voter lists maintained by the Secretary of State. Among the groups receiving the CDs were state political parties, news media organizations and Georgia GunOwner Magazine. An investigation is ongoing as to how this occurred. The Secretary of State has indicated that all twelve CDs have been retrieved, but at this time, no one knows who may have gotten access to the personal information contained on those CDs before they were retrieved. Now Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp has announced that those affected voters will be provided with a year of free credit and identity theft monitoring services through CSID services. Those people affected by the data breach will be able to sign up for these services within the next few weeks.
If you are a registered voter in Georgia, you can contact the Secretary of State’s office for updated information about the data breach and what you can do to protect yourself from identity theft by calling the Secretary of State’s office at 404-654-6045. A link to CSID’s website where affected people can sign up for credit and identity theft monitoring services will be provided on the Secretary of State’s website http://www.sos.ga.gov as soon as the services are available. Meanwhile, if you are a registered voter in Georgia and therefore in danger of identity theft due to this information being distributed, you should consider putting a credit freeze on your credit report at each of the three major credit reporting agencies as a proactive measure that will provide you with greater protection from identity theft than you will get from credit and identity theft monitoring services. Go to the archives of Scamicide and type in “credit freeze” for information as to how to set up a credit freeze on your credit reports.