1. Question: How do I know that I'm the person on this website?
If your name is "John Public," and you are trying to determine which of the IXRs is yours, consider the following:
- Read the Press Release: Each IXR includes the original press release that gives context about the breach. If you live in Louisiana and the breach happened in Connecticut, the IXR may not be yours.
- Call the Breaching Entity: Each Identity Exposure Report includes contact information for the entity responsible for the exposure. Call them and see what additional information they can provide
- If in doubt: If you're not sure, take preventative action (as explained on this page, and links to other resources) as a precaution.
Note: The advice given on this page is NOT exhaustive, should not be construed as legal advice, and is subject to change.
2. My Personal Information Has Been Exposed. Do I have any Legal Recourse?
You may or may not have legal recourse, depending on a wide range of factors, including what state you live in. The Liberty Coalition does not give legal advice. We encourage you to consult a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction.
3. Identity Theft
3.1 To Prevent Financial Identity Theft
What is it?: When someone steals your money or credit by pretending to be you.
Example: If a person assumes your identity, he or she may be able to get access to your bank accounts, or use your credit to apply for credit cards, or to make large purchases such as a car or house. Because the purchases are in your name, financial institutions will ask you to foot the bill.
Am I at risk?: You may be at increased risk if your Social Security Number, Date of Birth, Name, Mother's Maiden Name, Credit Card Number, Bank Account Number, Routing Number, Drivers License Numbers, Usernames, Passwords, etc. have been exposed.
- Credit Check: Immediately get a Free Credit Report. It should tell you whether someone has opened unauthorized lines of credit in your name.
- Credit Freeze: If your state allows it, you get a Credit Freeze through one of the major credit bureaus. This will prevent anyone (including you) from getting credit in your name for 90 days, without your explicit permission.
- Immediately check all financial accounts for unauthorized activity. If necessary, ask for a statement mid-month. Ask your bank to put a fraud alert on your accounts, and alert you if they see suspicious activity.
- Cancel credit cards you think may have been affected.
- Change passwords on financial accounts (banks, PayPal, etc). This is a good habit in any case.
- If you are a victim, call the FTC's Identity Theft Toll-Free Hotline at 1-877-IDTHEFT (438-4338).
- Continued Vigilance: Once your information has been exposed, there is often no way to "bring it back." While risk of identity theft decreases over time, it will never completely disappear, which means you should remain vigilant for years to come, regularly checking your credit, and maintaining credit freezes.
- ID Theft Protection: Some companies will do these things for you on an annual basis, so your credit freeze doesn't
automatically expire every 90 days, for example. These companies also offer comprehensive ID Theft protection of up to $1 million, for
all types of ID theft. Here are two examples:
The Liberty Coalition has negotiated a 20% discount, and first 30 days free for LifeLock’s ID theft prevention service: $1 million Guarantee. The Liberty Coalition has negotiated an 18% discount off TrustedID's Identity Theft Prevention & Credit Freeze service. Code: SSNBREACH The Liberty Coalition has negotiated an 25% discount off NameSafe's Identity Protection, Prosecution, and Legal Support: $1 Million Guarantee. Code: SSNBreach25
3.2 To Prevent Criminal Identity Theft
What is it?: When someone commits a crime while pretending to be you, and you are held responsible.
Example: When a person is arrested for a crime, he or she gives your name, SSN, DOB, drivers license number, or other identifying information, such as a falsified drivers license. Unlike financial ID theft, a credit report will often not reveal evidence of Criminal Identity Theft.
Am I at Risk?: You may be at increased risk if your Social Security Number, Date of Birth, Name, Mother's Maiden Name, Credit Card Number, Bank Account Number, Routing Number, Drivers License Numbers, Usernames, Passwords, etc. have been exposed.
What Now?: Although California has a Criminal ID Theft Registry, most people can generally take only preventative actions.
- File a report with your local police department. Ask for a letter from the police department saying that you are a victim of criminal identity theft.
- Don't share personal information with others unnecessarily, including roommates or even family.
- Take common sense precautions: Don't carry your Social Security Card with you, don't share sensitive information with businesses, etc.
- Hope and pray criminal identity theft doesn't happen to you.
3.3 To Prevent Medical Identity Theft
What is it?: When someone gets medical goods or services while pretending to be you.
Example: Often comitted by healthcare workers, Medical ID theft can skew your medical history and affect your ability to qualify for medical insurance.
Am I at Risk?: You may be at increased risk if your Social Security Number, Date of Birth, Name, Mother's Maiden Name, Credit Card Number, Bank Account Number, Routing Number, Drivers License Numbers, Usernames, Passwords, etc. have been exposed. You may also be at higher risk if your insurance or medical information has been exposed.
What Now? (Tips from the World Privacy Forum.)
- Closely monitor any "Explanation of Benefits" sent by an public or private health insurer.
- Request a listing of benefits from your health insurers.
- Request an accounting of disclosures.
- Request a copy of current medical files from each health care provider.
- Correct erroneous and false information in your file.
- Keep an eye on your credit report.
- If you suspect you have been the victim of Medicare/Medicaid fraud, call 1-800-HHS-TIPS (1-800-447-8477).
- Read Blue Cross/Blue Shield's prevention page.
- Research your health privacy rights at the Health Privacy Project.
- Research your medical records and privacy rights at the Georgetown University Center.
3.4 To Prevent Risks to Employment
What is it?: 1. When an employer turns you down for employment because your background check has been tainted by
Criminal Identity Theft, or 2. When an employer is improperly influenced by embarrassing information about you that would
not otherwise affect your performance.
Example: Some employers do background checks on employees. In cases of criminal identity theft, you may be denied employment because someone else committed a crime in your name. Even in California, where they have established a Criminal ID Theft Registry, you may be plagued with a bad background check for years.
Am I at Risk?: Employment risks overlap significantly with Criminal ID Theft. In addition, any potentially embarrassing information such as medical conditions, political affiliation, etc. may cause problems in the hands of an unscrupulous employer.
- Seek legal advice if you believe you have been denied employment for an improper reason.
- If you are a victim of criminal identity theft, follow the advice above.
4. To Secure a Wireless Network
Securing a wireless network is simple, and there are several easy-to-understand tutorials to help you. Here are a few resources that will teach you the basics: