MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. – The Office of Personnel Management recently revealed that the personally identifiable information of approximately 21.5 million people has been pilfered from current and former service members, civilian workers and contractors.
News of the breach came shortly after OPM’s initial announcement that the PII of approximately 4 million people had been stolen.
The compromised information includes social security numbers, names, addresses and places of birth. Additional information affected by the breach includes: service-history records, court orders, fingerprints and information provided during security clearance checks from 2000 until the date the breach occurred.
According to OPM officials, it is highly likely that any individual who submitted background investigation information to OPM post 2000 is at high risk to have been effected by this incident. Reports also included that 1.8 million non-applicants and co-dependents are at risk as a result of this incident.
Leadership from OPM is working alongside the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, Department of Homeland Security and FBI to discover the best avenue to protect and safeguard workers and their families.
In response to the breach, OPM has agreed to notify affected individuals through the following government e-mail address, firstname.lastname@example.org, as well as by use of the United States Postal Services. Once notified, individuals will receive a complimentary 18-month subscription to CSID Protector Plus, a service that monitors the internet and public records for evidence of identity theft. Those affected, regardless of whether or not they enroll in CSID’s service, will get $1 million of identity-theft insurance through Dec. 7, 2016.
Through the CSID package provided to victims, they will receive credit monitoring with free credit reports; Cyber Agent Internet Surveillance to monitor chatrooms and websites; and 24/7 personal information monitoring across the web.
Court and public records will be continuously monitored to detect if a third party is using a stolen ID. Other ways victims can safeguard their information is by monitoring non-credit loans and changing their addresses.
If theft occurs, there will be an automatic upgrade to identity theft insurance which will reimburse the victim.
According to Lt. Gen. Jim Laster, director of the Marine Corps Staff, service members must make themselves aware of the potential hazards related to the leak of personal information. Fraud and identity theft can be avoided and Laster encourages Marines to brush up on existing policies in regards to online safety, and to those who were directly affected, take advantage of free credit monitoring services and identity theft insurance provided by OPM.
Finally, identity restoration specialists will provide assistance and services for those who have had their identity compromised. Victims will work with a certified identity theft restoration specialist to restore their ID and move past this event in their lives.
This service is available for affected individuals even if they do not physically enroll themselves.
In order to prevent any further damage to personal information and files, victims are being advised to take the following measures: check credit reports, look for unrecognized charges or accounts, and secure accounts with fraud alerts. Ensure all emails are legitimate and do not offer personal information through email. Update passwords frequently and ensure new passwords are complex and unique.
For additional information, or questions visit www.csid.com/opm, or http://www.secnav.navy.mil/OPMBreachDON/Pages/default.aspx.