In April, the Texas Comptroller’s Office publicly announced that the names, addresses, Social Security numbers and driver’s licenses of more than three million Texans were inadvertently stored on a publicly accessible website. The information exposed on the website included data from the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS), the Texas Workforce Commission and the Employees Retirement System of Texas (ERS).
Unfortunately, the Attorney General’s Office has learned that Texans affected by the Internet security breach may now be the targets of a new telephone scam. A state employee reported receiving fraudulent telephone calls at home from an individual seeking to confirm the employee’s Social Security numbers. The caller falsely claimed to be with ERS.
According to the report, a Health and Human Services Commission employee stated that an individual called the employee’s home, identified himself as “Mike with ERS” and said he wanted to confirm the last four digits of the employee’s Social Security number. When the employee refused to provide information, the caller said, “Good luck to you” and disconnected the call.
To further guard against identity theft, Texans whose confidential information was compromised should consider taking these steps:
- Request a copy of their credit report and review it for unauthorized account activity.
- Contact a primary credit reporting bureau to have a fraud alert placed on the reports. That credit bureau will notify the other two bureaus.
- Report unauthorized charges and accounts to the appropriate credit issuers and credit bureaus immediately by phone and in writing. Cancel the accounts.
- File a police report with their local law enforcement agency and keep a copy of that report. Many banks and credit agencies require such a report before they will acknowledge that a theft has occurred.
- Visit www.txsafeguard.org or www.texasfightsidtheft.gov.