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The Resource Center Identity Theft & Protection The Resource Center | article

What the Oregon Breach Can Teach Us About ID Protection

Recently, the Oregon Employment Department announced its computer system was hacked and experienced a security data breach.

851,000 Oregon residents may be victims of a data breach.

Recently, the Oregon Employment Department announced its computer system was hacked and experienced a security data breach. It's now in the process of notifying some 851,000 potential victims, along with offering them help.

The Department stated that it became aware of the breach on October 6, following an anonymous tip an employee issued over voicemail during the weekend. However, it said that within hours of the anonymous tip, it had corrected the program and secured the system.

The Department has now taken the step of sending letters to the potential identity theft victims. In the letters, the Department explains hackers had tapped into the state’s database, containing the names, addresses and Social Security numbers of individuals who enrolled with WorkSource Oregon. Moreover, the list of potential victims is quite long. It includes anyone who filed for unemployment since 2008.

"It could have happened to anyone, anyone who was laid off a job," Patricia Miller said to KATU2 News.

In addition to notifying the people who may be affected, the Department is also offering its assistance. A year of free credit monitoring is available to victims of the security breach, as well as upwards of $20,000 in cases where people's personal information was used.

Fraud prevention professional Scott Waddell praised Oregon's efforts in responding to the security breach. However, others fear that too much damage has already taken place.

Despite the Department's offers of assistance, some are concerned that the department's announcement simply came too late, including Miller, who expressed her dissatisfaction.

"This is too little too late,” Miller told the news source.

Andrea Fogue, the Legislative and Public Affairs Manager for the Oregon Employment Department, responded when pressed about why the announcement to the public came two weeks after her office became aware that a breach occurred.

She explained that when the Department realized the extent and potential severity of the breach, it knew it needed to act and notify the public.

"We didn’t know until we reviewed 1.9 million records that there were hundreds of thousands of individuals affected," Fogue told the source.

Besides the free credit monitoring offer and reimbursements available, the Department is also encouraging people who received the letter or think they may have been affected to call a toll-free hotline at (877) 643-4322.

Serious security breaches such as these signal the importance of identity theft protection. It is important to be proactive to protect your personal data, such as credit card information or Social Security number, from being stolen or sold on the black market. Especially for those who enrolled in WorkSource Oregon since 2008, or others who want to increase their protection, consider signing up for credit monitoring or identity protection services.