Commonwealth of Virginia
Office of the Attorney General
900 East Main Street
For media inquiries only, contact:
Michael Kelly, Director of Communications
IN WAKE OF OPM HACK, HERRING URGES VIGILANCE BY FEDERAL EMPLOYEES
RICHMOND (July 9, 2015)--Attorney General Mark R. Herring today urged current and former federal employees in Virginia and those who have undergone federal background checks to pay close attention to their financial accounts and credit scores after the federal Office of Personnel Management announced that approximately 22 million personal records may have been compromised during a cyber-attack. It is estimated that Virginia is home to hundreds of thousands of current, former, and retired federal workers, ranking second only to Maryland in percentage of workers employed by the federal government.
"This is yet another data breach that is shocking in its scale and it's one that will disproportionately impact Virginians," said Attorney General Mark Herring. "I strongly encourage Virginians to take advantage of the credit monitoring and other services that have been made available. Breaches like this create a significant risk of scams, fraud, and identity theft, and it's critical that affected Virginians take proactive steps to help protect their data and identity. I also applaud Senators Kaine and Warner and our Northern Virginia congressional delegation for demanding answers and reforms in the wake of such a significant breach."
Notices have been or will be mailed to affected employees making them aware of the breach and offering a number of credit monitoring and protection services including credit monitoring, court and public records monitoring, non-credit loan monitoring, change of address monitoring, social security number trace, identity theft insurance, and identity restoration services.
Attorney General Herring's Office works to ensure that companies hit by database breaches comply with Virginia law by notifying affected Virginians. Since January 2014, the Attorney General's Computer Crimes Section has received 490 database breach notifications. Because data breaches lead to an increased risk of identity theft and fraud, all Virginians should regularly monitor their financial accounts and credit reports. Free credit reports may be obtained at www.annualcreditreport.com.
In addition, citizens should heed the following:
- Use strong passwords for your email, computer, and financial accounts, including variations of capital and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols of at least 8 characters
- Install anti-virus programs on your computer and scan files and emails regularly
- Never download software programs from unknown publishers
- Check for regular updates to your operating system
- Install and activate a software and hardware firewall on your computer
- Back-up all of your data regularly using a USB drive
The Attorney General's Computer Crimes section and Victim Notification program are dedicated to empowering Virginians to protect themselves from identity crime and financial crimes, and works with Virginians who find themselves victims to this increasingly common crime. The office publishes the informational resource, "How to Avoid Identity Theft - A Guide for Victims of Identity Theft."
Additionally, the office offers an Identity Theft Passport, a wallet-sized card that you can carry and present to law enforcement or other individuals who may challenge you about your identity if you have been a victim of an identity crime. The Identity Theft Passport is available to any Virginian who has filed a police report claiming they are a victim of an identity crime or who has obtained a court order expunging their record as a result of an identity crime. The Attorney General's Office conducts investigations to confirm the legitimacy of all passport applications. You may download the Identity Theft Passport from the Attorney General's website at http://www.ag.virginia.gov/
For additional information and resources regarding computer crimes and other consumer issues, please visit Attorney General Herring's website at http://www.ag.virginia.gov/.
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