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Feds: Identity theft letters are legitimate

Posted at 7:32 PM, Dec 15, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-15 19:32:45-05

INDIANAPOLIS -- If you receive a letter in the mail claiming to be from the federal government telling you your personal information has been stolen, there’s a good chance it is legitimate.

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) experienced a “cyber incident” which involved the theft of background investigation records.

The agency has not provided Call 6 Investigates with the number of Hoosiers impacted by the breach.

“OPM has engaged in a rigorous process to notify impacted individuals through a method that prioritized the security of their information,” said the agency in a statement to Call 6 Investigates. “Additionally, significant time and effort was spent to collect appropriate contact information for impacted individuals. To collect the addresses for individuals who could not be located, and to assist those who have issues with their PIN, the government established a verification center operated by the U.S. Department of Defense. The verification center will also serve as a resource for people who believe they may have been impacted, but have not yet received a letter.”

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller received one of the letters in the mail.

“It doesn’t come as a real shock,” said Zoeller. “I’m a little disappointed to say the least.”

Zoeller said whether you received the letter or not, it’s a good idea to look at your credit card statements and credit reports.

“Take responsibility for managing your own credit,” said Zoeller.  “The one thing we’re really recommending is freezing your credit because they’re going to open up another credit card and that’s the biggest risk people face.”

You can find examples of the letters at www.opm.gov/cybersecurity.

If you receive an email version of the letter asking for personal information, consider it to be fraudulent, and report it to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).          

“OPM and our partners across government remain committed to protecting the safety and security of the information provided to us,” said OPM Press Secretary Sam Schumach.

Tips for consumers:

  • Monitor financial account statements and immediately report any suspicious or unusual activity to financial institutions
  • Freeze your credit: http://www.in.gov/attorneygeneral/2891.htm
  • Request a free credit report at www.AnnualCreditReport.com or by calling 1-877-322-8228. 
  • Review resources provided on the FTC identity theft website, www.ftc.gov/idtheft
  • You may place a fraud alert on your credit file to let creditors know to contact you before opening a new account in your name.  Simply call TransUnion® at 1-800-680-7289 to place this alert.  TransUnion® will then notify the other two credit bureaus on your behalf. 

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