Credit Freezes: Your Best Defense Against Cyber Attacks and Data Breaches.

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:

  • To do so, you will need to contact all three of the credit bureau agencies—Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.
  • You will need to freeze your file at all three agencies to be properly protected.
  • Prices for a credit freeze vary per state, but usually cost about $10 at each bureau. You will need to pay an additional $10 to unfreeze your file when opening a new line of credit. Freezing your credit can cost up to $30 all together, but that is much less expensive and stressful than dealing with a stolen identity.
  • If you are a proven identity theft victim, the freeze and unfreeze fees are waived in all states.

Credit Bureau Contact Information:

Equifax, Inc
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374

Experian, Inc
P.O. Box 4500
Allen, TX 75013

TransUnion LLC
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19022-2000


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.

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Kohlhepp Investment Advisors, Ltd.
3655 Route 202, Suite 100
Doylestown, PA 18902
Phone: 215-340-5777
Fax: 215-340-5788

Securities offered through Cambridge Investment Research, Inc. a Registered Broker/Dealer, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment Advisory Services offered through Kohlhepp Investment Advisors, Ltd., a Registered Investment Advisor. Kohlhepp Investment Advisors, Ltd. and Cambridge Investment Research Advisors, Inc. are not affiliated.

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