Cyber intrusion at federal level

Extension Retirement and Benefits Coordinator Tamra Robbins advises that the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) experienced a cyber intrusion earlier this year that compromise personnel records of current and former federal employees as well as federal retirees. The kind of data that may have been compromised in this incident could include name, Social Security Number, date and place of birth, and current and former addresses. Family members of employees and retirees were not affected by this breach. It is important to realize that not all employee and retiree information was breached.

Upon further investigation, OPM discovered additional information has been compromised, including background investigation records of current, former and prospective federal employees and contractors. It is estimated that sensitive information, including Social Security Number (SSNs) of an estimated 21.5 million individuals may have been stolen from the background investigation database.

This incident affects individuals who underwent a background investigation through OPM in 2000, or afterwards for either a new investigation or a reinvestigation. It is highly likely that these individuals are impacted by the incident involving background investigations. If you underwent a background investigation prior to 2000, you still might be impacted, but it is less likely.

OPM has sent notification to individuals affected by the personnel records incident (first incident) and will be sending notifications regarding the second incident to potentially affected individuals and stated exactly what information may have been compromised. Email notifications for the first incident came from opmcio@csid.com and contained information regarding credit monitoring and identity theft protection services being provided to those impacted by the data breach. In the event OPM did not have an email address for the individual on file, a standard letter was sent via the U.S. Postal Service. We assume the notification for the second issue will also come from opmcio@csid.com.

OPM is continuing to monitor and investigate the situation, but at this time, there is no information suggesting misuse of the information that was stolen. In the meantime, spot the warning signs of identity theft (visit IdentifyTheft.gov), be aware of phishing scams, update your passwords, check your computer security (Onguardonline.gov lists helpful steps), and, if you think or are concerned you are experiencing identity theft, visit IdentifyTheft.gov

What can you do? OPM maintains a website that will be updated regularly (https://www.opm.gov/cybersecurity/), and you can check here for current information. If you receive notification (either by email or regular mail), follow the instructions in the notification. You may email OPM directly at cybersecurity@opm.gov, but we do recommend you check the website first — many of your questions will be answered there.

If you received a notification that your information may have been compromised in the personnel records incident (the first incident), follow the instructions on your notification to sign up for credit monitoring and other services. For questions about the personnel records incident only, you may call CSID at 884-777-2743.