By CHRIS DICKERSON
CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is encouraging West Virginia residents to watch their accounts and information to see if they were possibly affected by the recent Federal Government Office of Personnel Management breach.
The computer networks at the Office of Personnel Management, or OPM, were recently hacked and could have possibly compromised the information of about 4 million current and former federal employees. According to Workforce West Virginia, approximately 23,000 people work for the federal government in West Virginia.
“We encourage West Virginians who may have been affected by this breach to use some of the tools the OPM has put in place,” Morrisey said in a statement. “Current or former federal employees in the state should also carefully review bank accounts, invoices, and statements to make sure everything is correct.”
The OPM conducts background investigations for prospective employees and security clearances across government, manages pension benefits for retired federal employees and their families, and sets policy on government-wide hiring procedures, according to its website.
On June 8, the OPM will begin sending notifications to individuals whose personal, identifiable information was possibly compromised. These notifications will continue through June 19. An email from OPM will come from email@example.com and it will contain information regarding credit monitoring and identity theft protection services being provided to those federal employees affected by the data breach. If OPM does not have an email address for the individual on file, a standard letter will be sent via the U.S. Postal Service.
Additionally, OPM is offering those employees affected by the breach free credit monitoring services and identity theft insurance with CSID, a company that specializes in identity theft protection and fraud resolution.
The Attorney General’s Office is offering a few basic tips for consumers to protect their information and identities including:
Monitor your bank account and credit card statements to detect unauthorized charges.
Check your credit report for new accounts or creditors you do not recognize. All consumers are entitled to a free annual credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian, and Transunion.
Place a fraud alert on your credit report. These free alerts last for 90 days and make it more difficult for a person to open up a line of credit in your name.
Participate in the free credit monitoring offered by OPM.
“With more than 20,000 federal employees in West Virginia, this recent breach may make some people very worried or frustrated,” Morrisey said. “However, our office wants these West Virginians to know that help is available during this time.”
Those with questions or concerns about this data breach can also call the OPM toll free at 844-222-2743.