If you have ever applied for federal employment, or even completed an online resume for potential future positions, you may find yourself a victim rather than an employee. Thanks to a June 2015 attack by hackers, millions of job seekers now face the possibility of being victims of identity theft.
Like many veterans, I have turned my military experience into a future source of income by parlaying it into a civilian government position. Although I ultimately selected a state position rather than federal position, I routinely cruise the current openings for interesting positions that might make for a good second career. To be ready for that once in a lifetime limited opportunity, I also make sure my online resume is current and up to date. Imagine my surprise when I arrive home late last week to find a letter from the Office of Personnel Management announcing my personal information had been stolen during a recent security breach.
I paid little attention to the news of a data breach at OPM; after all, it was just the latest in a long list of government offices target by hackers. Plus, initial reports appeared to indicate that the data stolen was limited to current employees and specifically those holding security clearances. So I was very surprised to learn, via a form letter from OPM, that as many as 21.5 million records had been stolen and that those records included the name, DOB, address and SSN of not only current and past employees but also applicants and any dependents listed in official records. To make matters worse, it has been reported that the thefts are the result of a series of breaches dating back to as early as March of 2014.
The good news is that, if you are one of the 21.5 million people who have been identified as having had their information compromised, OPM has arranged for a private, non-government identity security firm to conduct free monitoring of affected parties’ accounts and credit activity for the next three years. If any anomalies are observed, this firm will assist victims in closing fraudulent accounts and correcting associated records. The bad news is that you will only benefit from this protection if you register.
Registering is not that difficult and, if you were identified as a potential victim, you should be receiving notice from the OPM shortly; the first series of notices were mailed on October 1st but, as you can imagine, it takes a while to notify over 21 million people. If you receive one of these notices, do not throw it in the recycling; it is not junk mail. It contains valuable instructions on how to register yourself and your dependent children (those under 18 as of July 1, 2015) for this valuable protection. Hackers generally steal personal data for one reason – to sell to those looking to commit fraud. Given the highly detailed nature of the data stolen from OPM, especially SSNs, this is the type of information which sells for a premium so it is only a matter of time before we start hearing reports of fraudulent account, loans and even tax refunds obtained with it. Do not wait until you are further victimized before taking the steps necessary to protect yourself.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.
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