How to safeguard your identity

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

In light of the recent Office of Personnel Management data breach, the Better Business Bureau urges government employees and their families to lock down their credit reports. This could prevent identity thieves from establishing new lines of credit in their names.

The BBB offers the following suggestions for those concerned that their personal information has been stolen:
1. Do not take a “wait and see” approach if you think someone has taken a hold of your accounts. You must act quickly.
2. Consider freezing your current credit reports. This won't impact your accounts, but will create a roadblock for thieves creating fake accounts to use your information.
3. If you know your Social Security number has been compromised, place a fraud alert on your credit reports. While less effective than a freeze, this will provide an extra layer of protection.
4. Take advantage of the free credit monitoring services OPM will be offering to breach victims. While this is not a preventative measure, this will alert you to new accounts or inquiries using your Social Security number so that you can act quickly to repair the damage.
5. Vigilance is key. Regularly check your credit reports at annualcreditreport.com for unauthorized charges or other signs of fraud.
NOTE: This is the only free credit report option authorized by the Federal
Trade Commission.
6. For more information and complete step-by-step guidance on repairing the damage caused by identity theft, visit the FTC’s identity theft resources.
7. Expect that scammers will take advantage of this data breach. Do not click on links from any email, text or social media messages about this or any other data breach.

For all businesses that collect customer information:
- Make sure you protect your customers’ data. If a data breach can happen to a major corporation with significant data security measures in place, it can happen to any business.
- Check out BBB’s updated online guide Data Security – Made Simpler for free information on how to create a data security plan.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.