August 10, 2015
Updating you from our June newsletter, The Office of Personnel Management breach that occurred in June is now said to have affected over 21 million people. Upon first announcing the hack, OPM believed only 4 million current and retired federal employees were at risk.
After investigating, the U.S. government announced that 19.7 million people who applied for a background investigation along with 1.8 million non-applicants (family, friends, or spouses of applicants) had their information stolen.
FBI Director, James Comey, said the hackers picked up a "treasure trove of information." Included in a traditional background check is Standard Form 86. This 127-page questionnaire asks for information such as Social Security number, past addresses, foreign trips, as well as information on family, friends, college roommates, etc. Officials also believe that over one million fingerprints were stolen.
Experts worry that this information could be used to blackmail current and former government employees. Officials have said the hack originated in China, however, the Obama administration has not confirmed.
Katherine Archuleta, the director of the Office of Personnel Management has resigned following the breach.
OPM has offered affected employees three years of credit monitoring and $1 million in identity theft insurance. They are also offering victims full service identity restoration support and victim recovery assistance. Minor children that were affected will also receive free credit monitoring.
In our continued efforts to educate and inform you, we remind you again that credit monitoring is not the best protection! With the amount of information that was stolen, anyone who thinks or knows that they were affected should immediately freeze their credit.
Even if you were not a part of this particular security breach, we are recommending security freezes to all of our clients as one of the best ways to protect yourself against identity theft.
How to Freeze Your Credit:
Credit Bureau Contact Information:
It seems like every day the headlines are full of new stories of cybersecurity breaches and some type of new hacking threat. Below are some recent statistics and information with links to additional articles and more security tips.
67,168: The number of security incidents reported by federal government agencies in 2014. That's 7,000 more than 2013 and almost 20,000 more incidents than in 2012. A security incident is not necessarily a breach that exposes personal information, however 27,624 of the incidents reported in 2014 did.
2015 on track to be most breached year, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center. As of June 30, 2015, 400 data breaches had been reported with 117,576,693 records at risk.
Do you know the safest ways to share your credit card information? Nerd Wallet recently released a guide to help you protect your information online, through the mail, and over the phone. In general, sharing your credit card information over secure websites and text messages carry the lowest risk. Learn more here.
We strongly recommend a credit freeze, and if you need assistance, more cybersecurity tips and information, please contact us. This will help protect your credit and identity from being used fraudulently.
Edward J. Kohlhepp, CFP®, ChFC, CLU, CPC, MSPA
Edward J. Kohlhepp, Jr., CFP®, MBA
Please contact us whenever there are any changes to your financial situation, personal situation or investment objectives.
Source: Horsesmouth, LLC