Attorney General Morrisey ‘extremely disappointed’ by federal government’s slow response to breach
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia residents are urged to monitor their personal accounts and credit reports after the federal Office of Personnel Management admitted a data breach of its systems was much larger than originally reported.
“West Virginians rightfully deserve to know if their personal information is protected, and I’m extremely disappointed it has taken officials this long to properly acknowledge who has been affected by this breach,” Morrisey said.
Among the current and former federal employees that were affected, the information that was stolen may include a person’s full name, birth date, home address and Social Security number, the agency said. According to Workforce West Virginia, approximately 22,800 people currently work for the federal government in West Virginia. The individuals involved in this portion of the breach should have already been contacted by the federal government.
According to the information released Thursday, background investigation records of current, former and prospective Federal employees and contractors were also compromised. That includes records of 19.7 million individuals who applied for background investigations and 1.8 million non-applicants, primarily the spouses or co-habitants of applicants. Many of the original 4.2 million affected current and former employees were included in this group. However, the agency has not yet begun the process of notifying the additional individuals affected by this portion of the breach.
The agency said the information hackers may have gained from these records could include Social Security numbers, fingerprint data, residency and educational history, employment history, information about immediate family and personal and business acquaintances, health and financial history, findings from interviews conducted by background investigators and the usernames and passwords used to fill out online forms.
The Office of Personnel Management 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:
“I strongly encourage anyone who has ever worked for or applied for a job with the federal government to be vigilant in monitoring their bank accounts and credit reports in the coming months,” Morrisey said. “I also promise that my Office will work to hold the federal government accountable and make sure the Administration takes all necessary steps to protect individuals affected by this breach.”
Earlier this week, Morrisey joined a bipartisan, national coalition of state Attorneys General to urge federal lawmakers against pre-empting state authority when it comes to data breaches and data security laws.
“I think the federal government’s reaction to this situation is a cautionary tale that demonstrates why states should be able to take the lead in protecting our citizens’ personal data,” Morrisey said. “We have good laws and resources in place at the state level to protect and notify citizens when data breaches occur. It’s clear that now is not the time to give that authority over to a federal government that can’t even protect its own data.”
For information on preventing identity theft or to report suspicious activity, contact the West Virginia Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 800-368-8808 or the Eastern Panhandle field office in Martinsburg at 304-267-0239. To file a consumer complaint online, go to www.wvago.gov.