Home > 2014 > Identity Theft > 850,000 Job Seekers May Have Been Exposed By Government Data Breach

850,000 Job Seekers May Have Been Exposed By Government Data Breach

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The Oregon Department of Employment has identified more than 850,000 Oregonians whose personal information may have been compromised by a security vulnerability in its job search database, WorkSource Oregon.

Unemployed Oregonians register for the database, adding their names, addresses, Social Security numbers and other information often found on job applications as they seek work. The Employment Department reviewed the 1.9 million accounts and determined 851,322 customers’ data may have been exposed, the department said in a news release earlier this week.

An anonymous tipster notified the department of the vulnerability Oct. 6, prompting the information security team to investigate and ultimately correct the issue. As of Oct. 13, the department said there was no indication anyone’s information had been fraudulently used, but affected customers will receive a letter notifying them of their status and identity theft protection. If you don’t want to wait for the letter, the department set up a hotline for concerned customers to call. WorkSource Oregon has been patched and is available for use again.

This lapse in security is significant for more than the 850,000 unemployed Oregonians whose information may have been compromised — data breaches are so common these days, everyone needs to know how to react.

What can you do if something like this happens to a service with your information? There are a few things to know: First, there’s not much you can do to prevent something like this, but your response can make a huge difference on how it impacts you.

It’ll help to take advantage of free identity theft protection when it’s offered, but remember that your exposure to theft doesn’t expire after a year. You may choose to continue to pay for monitoring, but you can do it yourself, too. The fundamentals of fraud prevention come down to a few regular habits: You should check your financial account activity daily, which will help you spot unauthorized charges. You can get your credit scores every few weeks and watch out for a sudden and significant change, which might indicate theft. You can get two of your credit scores for free every month on Credit.com.

Then there are credit reports: You’re entitled to free annual credit reports from the three main credit bureaus, so you can get them together once a year or spread them out and check one every four months. That being said, it’s still important to use strong passwords, security questions and two-step verification, as well as change credentials often. More than anything, knowing how to respond to a data breach should make it a lot easier to handle.

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