OLYMPIA – Attorney General Rob McKenna said Washington residents whose personal information was stored on a stolen Boeing laptop computer should take precautions to protect themselves against identity theft.
“ Former and current Boeing employees affected by the recent security breach should be aware that they have several options available to help protect them against identity theft,” McKenna said. “They can request a credit report security freeze, place a fraud alert with the credit-reporting agencies, or continue to monitor their statements without taking further action.
“ A credit freeze is the strongest option available to data breach victims in our state and is an important tool to block identity thieves from opening unauthorized accounts or loans in your name," McKenna said. "Individuals should be aware that they, too, will not be able to open new credit while a freeze is in place."
Boeing notified the Attorney General’s Office on Wednesday that a laptop containing personal information on 382,000 past and present Boeing employees was stolen. Social Security numbers and, in most cases, birth dates, addresses, phone numbers and salary information for more than 90,000 Washington residents were included.
Boeing has agreed to provide three years of credit monitoring for affected individuals and extend monitoring for employees affected by a previous data breach. The company has posted information on its internal and external Web sites and established a toll-free number for assistance: 1-866-473-2016.
Options available to Washington residents affected by the Boeing breach:
1. Request a credit report security freeze:
A freeze will block access to your credit report from potential creditors. Individuals should be aware that they will not be able to open new credit while a freeze is in place, but can request that a freeze be temporarily lifted for the purpose of obtaining new credit. Placing a freeze is free for qualifying Washington residents.
To request a freeze:
- Write to each of the three major credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and Trans Union) requesting a credit report security freeze. In your letter, you should include information to prove your identity, including your full name, Social Security number, address and birth date. (Keep copies of your request letters for your records).
- Include the following with your request:
- A copy of your notice from Boeing. Keep the original for your records. This provides proof that your information was potentially compromised in a data breach and confirms your eligibility for a freeze under the state’s law.
- A copy of Boeing’s police report. Washington’s law requires that a police report be submitted. Boeing will provide a copy of its police report to individuals who wish to obtain a freeze. To receive a copy, call 1-866-473-2016.
- Proof of address, such as copy of a utility bill, bank statement or insurance statement.
- Experian also requires a copy of a government-issued identification card, such as a driver’s license or military ID.
(The credit bureaus may request additional information to process your request.)
- Send your request and documentation by certified mail (required and beneficial for your protection) to each of the following addresses:
Equifax Security Freeze
P.O. Box 105788
Atlanta, GA 30348
Experian Security Freeze
P.O. Box 9554
Allen, TX 75013
Trans Union Security Freeze
P.O. Box 6790
Fullerton, CA 92834-6790
Note: You can also contact Trans Union at 1-888-909-8872 to request a security freeze form, which you can fill out and return in lieu of a letter.
2. Request a fraud alert:
While only a freeze will block access to a credit report, a fraud alert is a less restrictive option available to consumers and may help them know who is accessing their credit history.
With one phone call, you can place a fraud alert on your three credit reports for 90 days. Extended fraud alerts may also be available; details are available on the bureaus’ Web sites. Call one of the bureaus listed below and that bureau will share the information with the other two. All three credit reports will be sent to you free of charge.
Equifax: 1-800-525-6285, www.equifax.com
Experian: 1-888-397-3742, www.experian.com
TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289, www.transunion.com
An alert places a statement on your credit report. If an imposter attempts to obtain credit in your name, the creditor will check your credit and will encounter a statement that says something to this effect: "I may be a victim of fraud. Call me at my phone number 123-456-7890 before extending credit."
3. Receive copies of your credit reports without requesting a fraud alert or freeze:
All consumers can obtain a free credit report every 12 months, regardless of whether they have been identity theft victims. Call 1-877-322-8228 or make a request online at https://www.annualcreditreport.com.
- Boeing’s “TotalAccess” line: Individuals affected by the data breach can call 1-866-473-2016 for assistance.
Boeing Web site: Information for employees affected by the breach is available on Boeing’s Web site at http://www.boeing.com/empinfo/dataprivacy/
- Responding to Security Breaches: A Federal Trade Commission fact sheet, "What to Do if Your Personal Information Has Been Compromised," provides steps to take to minimize the potential for identity theft. It is online at http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/alerts/infocompalrt.pdf.
- Washington’s Credit Report Security Freeze Law: Common questions about the state’s credit report security freeze are answered on the Attorney General’s Web site.
- Identity Theft Victims: If you become a victim of identity theft, contact the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-ID-THEFT (1-877-438-4338) or the Attorney General’s Office at 1-800-551-4636 for further assistance. Information is also available online.
Attorney General McKenna will submit legislation next session that, if approved, will amend Washington’s credit freeze law to allow all consumers to request a freeze for prevention purposes.
McKenna and the Washington State Bar Association are sponsoring a one-day conference Dec. 14 in Seattle to help businesses meet the challenge of safeguarding consumer information in the age of data breaches and identity theft.
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Media Contact: Kristin Alexander, Public Information Officer, (206) 464-6432