Equifax's Trey Loughran has advice for monitoring your credit
COBB/CHEROKEE, Ga -- The Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) is sending email and letters to more than 4,500 people whose secure information was compromised. The emails will have instructions on how to set up credit monitoring.
Sam Hall, GDOL Communications Director, said an email that was inadvertently sent out to about 1,000 people was a mistake and not intentional. "We are absolutely convinced it was a mistake," he said. "It was purely human error."
The email containing a document that had information of 4,457 people who filed for unemployment at GDOL's Cobb-Cherokee Career Center in Marietta was accidentally emailed by an employee around 4:00PM Thursday. Hall said the employee has been suspended pending the outcome of their investigation into how it happened.
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The GDOL is working with Equifax to provide credit monitoring for the thousand's of people whose information is on the document. "Our primary emphasis right now is to protect the identity of those people and to protect their privacy the best that we can," Hall said.
Those people will receive an email and letter that explains how to set up an account with Equifax using an authentication code that will be provided.
Equifax's President of the Consumer, Trey Loughran, said GDOL reacted quickly to the mistake. "It's a relatively small breach of information and the Department of Labor has acted very quickly to address it," he said. "In fact it was probably the quickest of any institution that we've seen."
Still, Loughran warns identity theft protection efforts aren't foolproof. "You can't completely protect against identity theft and the scary thing about it is that in a lot of ways it's the most invisible of crimes," he said.
Loughran advised people whose information was breached to take these steps once they receive the letter from GDOL:
-Review all of your credit reports
-Activate fraud alerts to put a red flag on your credit file for lenders
-Monitor your account periodically to see if anything suspicious shows up.
Loughran said to monitor your bills, bank accounts, mail and phone calls for anything suspicious. "If people act quickly to activate these accounts and put the fraud flags on and monitor the accounts closely and use common sense measures they should be able to act quickly," he said.
He also provided the following tips if you find out your identity has been compromised:
-Shut down the account with the suspicious activity
-Contact Equifax for advice on how to restore your identity
-Contact police if you're sure you've been compromised
But he said there is no reason to panic. "Just because these names and information were disclosed doesn't mean the identity's been compromised," Loughran said. "People could have that information but it doesn't mean anything bad has happened yet."
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