Was Your Personal Information Captured in Theft of Government Data? More Benefits Now Available

A large number of current and former federal employees and others in the federal community have been impacted by the theft of personal data from government records. Here is an update on an increase in insurance coverage and other actions that may help those impacted by these events.

Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Acting Director Beth Cobert says that OPM has now finished notifying people impacted by the hacking of government personnel records. The agency has also completed the initial mailing of the notification letters to those impacted by the background investigation records hacking incident(s). About 10 percent of the letters intended to reach those impacted by the background investigation incident were returned because people had moved, the letters were incorrectly addressed, or other factors.

After attempting to find out updated addresses for letters that were not received, OPM is now remailing letters to those who did not receive their original notification letter for the background investigation records incident. The letter being mailed is a duplicate of the letter previously sent, but not successfully delivered. Those receiving this letter are being invited to sign up for credit and identity monitoring services if they have not already done so.

OPM will be posting a copy of the letter so recipients can verify the authenticity of the letter that has been received.

On June 1st, OPM increased the amount of identity theft insurance provided to people impacted by the cyber incidents involving personnel records or background investigations records. The increase went from $1 million to $5 million. Those who are impacted do not have to do anything to be covered by this increase.

In addition to increasing the identity theft insurance coverage, OPM is working to extend credit monitoring and identity protection services to those impacted by either incident for a period of at least 10 years.

Identity protection services such as identity restoration and identity theft insurance are included in the free services being offered to those impacted by either cyber incident.  Those who have been impacted by these events can enroll in identity theft protection and credit monitoring services through the OPM website or by calling either service provider.

For anyone who has experienced identity theft and who needs help restoring their identity or who wants to file a claim under the identity theft insurance, OPM has set up call centers. Those impacted by the background investigations incident should call ID Experts at 800-750-3004.  Those only impacted by the personnel records incident should call Winvale / CSID at 844-777-2743.

Anyone with more questions can review information at the OPM Cybersecurity Resource Center website. There is a frequently asked questions (FAQ) section that provides helpful information for those who have been impacted by these events.

On a personal note, as someone who was impacted by these hacking incidents and who immediately signed up for the identity protection service, this service has been very helpful in tracking information concerning a variety of personal information.

Whether it would be able to prevent identity theft is open to question but, without a doubt, this system quickly notifies a person when personal credit or financial information has been accessed, registered email accounts have been spotted in questionable areas, or other attempts have been made that could indicate attempts to gather personal information that could be personally damaging or lead to identity theft.

About the Author

Ralph Smith has several decades of experience working with federal human resources issues. He has written extensively on a full range of human resources topics in books and newsletters and is a co-founder of two companies and several newsletters on federal human resources. Follow Ralph on Twitter: @RalphSmith47